Wellington: One Day Sculpture One Day at a Time

New Zealand

The launch of One Day Sculpture will radically recast public sculpture in New Zealand. Looking to showcase New Zealand’s burgeoning art scene alongside works by international artists, 12 leading galleries and contemporary art organizations have collaborated for the first time in a nationwide initiative.

Beginning in June, this year-long series will take place in Wellington, Auckland, New Plymouth, Christchurch and Dunedin and will involve the creation of 21 site-specific public artworks, each of which will exist no longer than 24 hours. Venezuelan video artist Javier Téllez and political provocateurs Santiago Sierra and Thomas Hirschhorn have been commissioned, as well as veteran New Zealand conceptual artist Billy Apple, Maori artist Michael Parekowhai and Maddie Leach, whose site-responsive work explores audience spectatorship and participation.

One Day Sculpture was conceived by Massey University’s Litmus Research Initiative and Claire Doherty, a UK-based curator and director of Situations, a research center at the University of the West of England that investigates the significance of place and context in contemporary art practices. Litmus asked Doherty to commission works that reflect a diversity of artistic approaches, from object-based sculptures and installations to performance and temporary interventions across the urban environment.

Acknowledging that temporary artworks have the capacity to live on in the social imagination and collective memory, Doherty comments: “One Day Sculpture is an exhibition, but not as you know it. You might come across it unaware, as a fleeting shift in the status quo or as a spectacular occurrence or you might just hear about it as a rumor.”

As a preview, Slovakian artist Roman Ondák inaugurated One Day Sculpture in Wellington on March 7, restaging his celebrated project Good Feelings in Good Times (2003). The performative work, on loan from the Tate Collection, London, consists of individuals who form seemingly random queues at various locations in the city, insinuating themselves into the daily fabric of public life.

Litmus director Dr. David Cross believes One Day Sculpture provides an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealand audiences to engage with temporary public artworks by leading contemporary artists, signaling an important move forward for New Zealand contemporary art.