Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Paper plus

Wallpaper has become a favoured tool of many artists. There are examples of Andy Warhol’s early foray into it as a medium at Te Papa right now and artists like Thomas Demand, Urs Fischer and Takashi Murakami use it as a way to get major coverage fast. But who’d have guessed Ralph Hotere would get into the act, albeit posthumously? In fact we’re being perhaps ingenuous here calling it wallpaper (it’s not actually stuck on the wall) but it’s a strange lookalike story, and besides we wanted to attract your attention.

Back when The Hocken Library in Dunedin was housed in the Richardson building, Hotere’s three part banner work Rain (the words were by poet Hone Tuwhare) hung in the foyer. Not the best place for it as it turned out as the wind and sun did their bit to damage the paint. It was then removed and restored and now hangs in the new Hocken library foyer. “But hey, (suspend your disbelief, this is the Richardson building calling out in dismay) what about me? You can’t just leave a bloody empty wall!” And they didn’t. Enter a full-size colour photograph of Rain installed as a replacement. Well not a replacement exactly as it’s a photograph and on paper. A lookalike. Strange, but true.

Image: Top: a ‘wallpaper’ version of Rain hangs where no painting dares, followed by wallpaper works by Andy Warhol, Takashi Maurakami, Thomas  Demand and Urs Fischer.