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Auckland Art Gallery’s latest exhibit looks into life at home

The Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own exhibit at Auckland Art Gallery examines New Zealanders’ changing relationship with our homes in the midst of a housing crisis.

Featuring works from the Chartwell Collection from 38 New Zealand, Australian and international artists, the exhibition is a response to the changed relationship with ‘life at home’ in the face of current housing pressures.

The exhibit also features introductory work from Los Angeles-based New Zealand artist Fiona Connor and emerging Kiwi artist Tim Wagg.

Connor recreates seven interior walls from around Auckland and the Waikato on which artworks by founder of the Chartwell Trust, Rob Gardiner, hang.

Wagg on the other hand has created a video portrait of a young real estate agent set against a backdrop of the commercialised landscape of central Auckland.

Altogether alongside the other artists, the exhibit examines artistic responses and relationships to the domestic architecture aesthetic from the 1970s to the present, while the artists also show with the materials the psychology behind the idea of ‘home’.

“The new Chartwell Show couldn’t be more timely in its consideration of the way we occupy our interior spaces and think about home life,” says Kirsten Lacy, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Director.

“The Gallery has an important role to play in showcasing the work of local artists, whether internationally successful or early in their careers. We’re delighted to support new works by artists Fiona Connor and Tim Wagg.”

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The exhibit takes an artistic approach to home features such as scaffolding, sculptural walls, furniture and the indoor and outdoor spaces.

Natasha Conland, Senior Curator of Global Contemporary Art at the gallery, says the relationship with the concept of ‘home’ has evolved since the first Chartwell Collection show in 1974.

The first Chartwell Collection show looked at the relationship post-war where Kiwi artists used second-hand marketplaces and domestic wares as inspiration.

“Since then, attitudes around the home have changed. However, none of these changes have been so visible or acute as those we are experiencing now: a broad-scale housing crisis coupled with the effects of Covid-19 lockdowns, working-from-home culture, and ongoing building supply issues,” says Conland.

Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own exhibit asks audiences to interpret the art by looking at their own personal relationship with home life while also looking at the “material and social conditions of our housing environment”.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki exhibit of Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own runs from September 3 to March 26, 2023. Admissions to the exhibit is free.

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