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.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lonely at the top

Jason Lindsay: i am a mysterious loner who knows how to howl at the moon
18 June - 17 July 2009

Jason Lindsay has had a few shows in Auckland, exhibiting in Rm 103, George Fraser, Window and Enjoy in Wellington, though he is not particularly well known. Judging from these links, his beer sculptures look pretty funny, and the work that he constructed in 2006 for Window was an impressive spatial configuration. His grids of interwoven and suspended linear wooden vectors there look amazing.

This current show at ACFA, again very focussed on the location itself, is a tower of ostensibly Huntly bricks that ascends to the ceiling and up which you can climb via a spiralling path. It is made of thick board and plywood, seems to vaguely allude to Tatlin, and though not skeletal and airy like his earlier more abstract work, is more like a three dimensional theatre prop, facades you can clamber over. The structuring frames are now hidden by a veneer of laminated wood and compressed board.

Lindsay’s tower is a fake brick chimney but it also has a black (paper covered) flue winding round it up to the top, following under the steps. At its base it is locked into a model of a building that could be a crematorium, or perhaps even, a wood chipper. I say that because lying across its roof is a large figure of a dead man – a bit like an Anthony Gormley sculpture – covered in sawdust. So the work has sinister overtones. Good reason to howl at the moon.

There also seems to be something reflexive at work here, with the wood chipper / sawdust references and the fact that compressed chipboard dominates the surface as fake brick. Adding to the hints of atrocity with the crematorium, there is a seat at the top where you can perch to look out over Wellesley St through the window. Maybe it is a cynical view of success and what is necessary to attain it.

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