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Christchurch City Council Media Release 27 June, 1997


Simon Biggs: Magnet 11 July-10 August, 1997

Ruth Watson: The Developing World 15 August-14 September, 1997

In a response to the increased use of digital imagery in both New Zealand and international contemporary art practice, the McDougall Art Annex is proud to present a "techno season" with exhibitions by two leading artists working within this field. Both shows will rely on digital data equipment to project images into the Annex space, but the visual result each artist creates promises to be very different.

Magnet, by Australian-born and British-based artist Simon Biggs, finds its focus in the twin motivations of fear and desire. Flying and falling figures two to three times larger than life will inhabit the Gallery space, creating a dreamlike and disorientating environment. These figures have been programmed to respond to the movements of people within the Annex, mimicking and reacting with convincingly 'human' behaviour. Viewers are encouraged to interact with their computer-manipulated counterparts, creating a continuous and unpredictable performance.

Magnet has been made possible with the generous assistance of The Link, a year long programme of events to celebrate and explore the relationship between New Zealand and Britain, devised by the British High Commission and the British Council. Magnet will run between 11 July and 10 August this year. (This installation has also received technical assistance from IPS Ltd and the Wellington Polytechnic.)

Ruth Watson's exhibition, The Developing World, which opens on 15 August and runs until 14 September, uses mapping to examine personal ideas about location and identity: "the main thing about my work is understanding. Understanding yourself and where you are in the world." Watson's work at the Annex involves images of countries and continents which morph into one another, creating a constantly moving and changing montage of colour and form. These 'moving pictures' will be projected onto the floor from the four corners of the Annex ceiling in a reference to the directional points of a compass. Watson's installation reinforces the importance of mapping to cultural and individual identity: "Drawing a map is a way of controlling the world image or controlling your part in it". (The Robert McDougall Art Gallery and Art Annex would like to acknowledge the generous support of Ace Video Services with this project.)

The Robert McDougall Art Gallery is Christchurch's public art gallery which features regularly changing exhibitions of international and New Zealand historical and contemporary art. The McDougall Art Annex is one of New Zealand's leading contemporary art venues. The Robert McDougall Art Gallery is located in the Botanic Gardens, behind Canterbury Museum. The McDougall Art Annex is situated across Rolleston Avenue in the Arts Centre. Hours at both galleries are 10a.m. to 4.30p.m. daily. Free informal tours are available every day between 11a.m. and 3p.m. Admission is by donation.

Christchurch Art Gallery ~ Media Releases index

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