Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Drawing as sculpture and unopened lead

Peter Trevelyan: the incompleteness theorem
The Physics Room, Christchurch
19 September - 18 October 2008

The two galleries in the Physics room have been taken over by Peter Trevelyan to present two related but clearly different sorts of show.

The larger front room has an interactive exhibition with a large mirrored crystalline form attached to various cables. As the viewer negotiates the space, movement and/or heat sensors effect the mirrors and room lighting so that angular white reflections change upon the ceiling and walls. The experience is not dramatically immersive nor is it subtle and nuanced. A Smithson reference that is not particularly memorable either way.

The smaller back room is much more interesting, with incredibly delicate wall sculptures made of propeller pencil leads glued in weblike geometrical clusters. The lights cast fine lined shadows that make them and the shadows into ‘drawings.’ The sculpture flattens and the shadows project.

Trevelyan’s sculpture here has a lovely wit, to use graphite in this radical non-functional way. As a form not a tool.

It also has a Duchampian twist. (Actually the front room is also Duchampian in the way the viewer ‘completes’ the work.) Duchamp once called unopened tubes of paint ‘readymades’ and completed paintings ‘readymades aided.’ Curiously these are not completed drawings in the usual sense, and not in unopened canisters either. They are halfway between the two, sort of ‘readymades almost-aided’.

Suspended in mid air, poised above imagined marks they will never make, these constructions of pencil lead intrigue. Tool and created line here are inseparable.

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