Group Show | Signs & Symbols

Orexart, Auckland

Selected work by a host of artists including:
Simon Allison, Stephen Allwood, Kathy Barber, Robert Ellis, Wes Fieldhouse, Gill Gatfield, Max Gimblett, Jeffrey Harris, Paul Jackson, Roger Hickin, Richard Lewer, John Madden, Richard McWhannell, Peter James Smith, Shannon Williamson, Peter Wichman and Glen Wolfgramm.

In 1948 Vladimir Nabokov wrote a short story about an elderly couple taking a present to their incarcerated and frequently suicidal son. The last time he had tried, his method had been, in the doctor’s words, a masterpiece of inventiveness. He didn’t succeed because an envious fellow patient thought he was learning to fly and stopped him just in time. Nabokov ends the paragraph this way: ‘But what he had really wanted to do was tear a hole in his world and escape.’ The title of the story is Signs and Symbols. As it unfolds, the reader learns many details of the unnamed couple’s life: they are Russian Jews who went into exile after the revolution, they depend financially upon the husband’s brother, they lived in Germany, many of their relatives died in the Holocaust. The son suffers from a condition where “the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence”. Everything is a cipher, and of everything he is the theme. By means of the intricate and circuitous structures of the story, Nabokov pulls the reader between the physical, tangible world and the shadowy, shaped, invented world.

The artists in this show employ script, text, numbers, abstractions, skulls, titles, gestures and crosses, to articulate their concerns, and visions, to pull us between the physical world and the shadowy invented one. But it all maybe as Nabokov says about the suicidal son, ‘what he had really wanted to do was tear a hole in his world and escape.’

Image courtesy of Orexart.



Date(s) - 03/07/2018 - 28/07/2018
All Day