Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Te Papa Denny purchase on the cards?

Will Te Papa buy the Denny work shown at Venice? Chances are good, given they have purchased Biennale works by most of NZ’s representatives including Bill Culbert, Michael Parekowhai, Judy Millar, Francis Upritchard, and Michael Stevenson. Also the Te Papa collection is very light on Simon Denny (two paintings, an installation of four vitrines, and an early rug work) say compared to Auckland Art Gallery. They have 18 works including the large installation seen at the Walters Prize All You Need Is Data - The DLD 2012 Conference REDUX

The word floating around at Venice was that the entire work had been sold in two parts so we can probably assume that one of them is going to Wellington. Looking at Denny's Secret Power as installed at the Marciana Library, Te Papa will clearly need to do more than pick and choose from the many elements if it is to coherently present the central issues raised by Denny. In essence there are three major components: the entrance way featuring an automatic sliding door and display cases that position New Zealand and the four other members of the Five Eyes spy network. Then there is a set of computer server 'vitrines' devoted to the NSA, primed by material from the Snowden releases. The third element is  a further set of computer server 'vitrines' examining the work of David Darchicourt, a past designer for the NSA. By picking up the entrance section and making a carefully curated selection from the other two parallel themes, Te Papa should be able to represent Secret Power impressively. In fact, by adding in elements of the installation at Marco Polo airport, Te Papa could complete the package and allude to the Marciana library as well.

Images: Top Simon Denny entering the 'airlock' that opens the exhibition Secret Power. Bottom the two other main elements, left featuring the NSA and Snowden material and right designer David Darchicourt