“In principle a work of art has always been reproducible”, opens Walter Benjamin in his famous essay ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’. From casting to photography to newer digital technologies, the multiplied artwork exists as a very real possibility, albeit mostly unrealised. However, both artistic modernism and consumer culture predominantly place value on things that are rare, unique, exclusive and new. To protect the status of any object as ‘original’, external conventions are put in place to limit the production, display and distribution of what would otherwise be inherently reproducible.
On Repeat: The Disruptive Copy is interested in how copies might be deployed to cut through and circumvent the mechanisms that perpetuate the status of the original. In the process, the artwork becomes unfixed, perhaps even liberated. Able to circulate more readily into different contexts, the works spark a suite of complex questions around authorship, access and authenticity, which are usually suspended for the one-off piece. On Repeat features artworks that are hand-made, factory-produced, multiplied, re-worked, tenuously legal and copied through caveat to ask if the way to confront the contingency of the ‘original’ is through repetition.
As part of the exhibition, Wellington Media Collective member Chris McBride will run a two-day workshop looking at the screen-print as a discursive tool with potential for wide distribution.
Artists: Rachel Bell, Julian Dashper, Michael Parekowhai, SUPERFLEX, Daniel Malone and Bob van der wal, and Chris McBride/Wellington Media Collective
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3 September - 6 November 2016
Opening Saturday 10 September, 6pm