Wednesday, November 28, 2012

F bomb

Watching a painter obliterate the familiar mural from the side of the Moore Wilson’s building in central Wellington reminded us that not only did these product images stop endless tagging (some weird code of ethics between muralists and taggers that works throughout most of the city), but also that they had been painted where some sloganeering from the early 1980s had been. 

This was the site of the abandoned Thompson Lewis building which had housed the exhibition F1 (Factory 1) in November 1982. It was the brain child of Ian Hunter (then acting director at the National Art Gallery) and Andrew Drummond who was also on staff. F1 was a big shambling show that featured over its 2,800 metres just about every sculptor working in New Zealand and some more brought in from overseas. 

The floors were taken up by large-scale installations like Extensums by Pauline Rhodes and in the upper rooms and amongst the beams Andrew Drummond practised his Shamanistic arts. Richard Killeen was there, so too was Peter Nicholls. In fact Nicholls's work Full stop (he convinced the New Zealand Army Engineers to drop a three tonne boulder on to a sheet of heated steel) was on view on the Wellington harbour coastline for years after but seems to have vanished when we looked for it the other day. 

 And the slogan connection? We’ve mentioned it before, “When is a factory not a factory? When it’s a closed shop.” 
Images: Top, mural out. Bottom left, Thompson Lewis back in the day. Right, Peter Nicholls Full stop