Gregor Kregar’s Pavilion Structure, winning entry in this year’s Waiheke Headland Sculpture Exhibition, would be a fitting permanent fixture on the Matiatia headland. I could visualise walking with children to admire the stunning views over Matiatia Bay and the Hauraki Gulf, and having a picnic lunch and sitting and watching the boats go by within the shade of this fascinating and creative interactive sculpture made from recycled wood. I would take a book to read while children played on the swings inside it or explored the environment nearby. It seems we don’t do enough of that these days in our harried lives.
Judge Rhana Devenport, director of the Govett Brewster Gallery in New Plymouth called the work a “magnificent folly.” Folly is not such a bad thing if it wins the Lexus premier award of $20,000.00. And it certainly had a winning way with adults and children alike as they ate picnic lunches in its shade while children played happily on the swings.
Kregar stated that he was “concerned with relationships between art and everyday life.” He also likes to transform the “mundane” into a work of art. And what could be more mundane than a pile of used timber. This is what I saw when the work was in progress. It didn’t look much more than a pile of junk, looking all the more forlorn in an approaching storm…
Yet as the following photographs show, it came alive when this “mundane” junk was transformed by a true artist, and drew people to it in droves. It had my top vote as well.
Gregor Kregar was born in Slovenia in 1972. He has exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally. His work is represented in a number of important art collections including, but not limited to, Abu Dhabi City, United Arab Emirates, Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand, and James Wallace Arts Trust, Auckland.
Waiheke artist Kazu Nakagawa won the $10,000.00 Westpac Merit Award for his entry A Play Catwalk. He appointed a curator to direct a white-themed show, who arranged for garments to be made and worn on the catwalk. Viewers are invited to take a role in this play as actors or performers on the catwalk, or in the audience.
Nagagawa wrote, “When we view artworks or scenery, we often tend not to recognise our own involvement. This work attempts to reverse this common circumstance, turning seeing into being seen, and turning the art object into an art process.”
The first time I viewed Catwalk it was empty, and the beautiful white garments were locked away in the see-through shed on site. Without any active participation, it all seemed quite meaningless to me. And then on my next visit I was delighted to find it so alive and completely transformed – like sudden activity on an empty stage, and I sat on the wooden beams specially arranged for the audience, to enjoy the show.
Caroline Williams received the $10,000.00 Geni-i Award for Field Notes, a creation that explores the relationship between language, sound, and form. The sound waves of site recordings – “the momentary and sometimes barely perceptible sounds” heard early in the morning, “such as fragments of bird songs or leaves rustling in the wind,” have been cut into aluminium and mounted on rubber thread anchored in the ground and connected to a tree branch. They make new sounds when fingers run across the threads as if playing a harp.
David McCracken won the new $5,000.00 Parsons Brinkerhoff Award for best engineering with his entry Portrait of Traction and Transmission. In this exhibition, David was able to compose this sculpture to “fit into the setting” after previously having to place them standing vertically. In this work, “a large closed loop of corton steel plate has collapsed under its own weight and now lies slumped over a rock. The giant belt with raised treads has the appearance of a component of some vast machine which has been discarded and left to rust at the end of its useful life.”
There are thirty sculptures exhibited along the Headland Walk this year. The following are a selection of my favourites. Sunday, February 17, is the final day of the exhibition.