Gavin Hipkins: The Domain
25 Nov 2017 – 25 Mar 2018
New Zealand artist Gavin Hipkins’ career is characterised by a remarkable fluidity, spanning a wide range of photographic media, from slide transparencies to photograms to moving image.
The Domain will be an expansive survey of Hipkins’ work, bringing together 25 years of art-making. It will reveal an ever-evolving practice which returns again and again a set of core concerns: photography as the predominant form of modernist visual communication; the nation state and national identity; exploration and colonisation in the modern era; how social and political ideologies visually shape the world we live in.
Early in his career, Hipkins was described by fellow artist and writer Giovanni Intra as a "tourist of photography". This epithet has been used repeatedly by commentators on Hipkins' work, to describe two distinct, yet intertwined, aspects of his practice: as art historian Peter Brunt puts it, Hipkins is a constantly travelling photographer, “an iconographer of desire, travel, time and ... modern communities", and as tourist within the medium, “a great manipulator of the photographic artifact itself: its materiality, formats, systems, modes of installation and display".
The Domain will present major, well-known bodies of work including The Habitat (1999–2000), Hipkins' study of Brutalist architecture on New Zealand universities; The Homely (1997–2000), an 80-part photographic tour through New Zealand and Australia, nominated for the inaugural Walters Prize; The Colony (2000–2002), shown at the 28th Sao Paulo Biennale; and This Fine Island (2012), his short film which revisits Charles Darwin's journey to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand in 1835. By showing these key pieces alongside lesser-known and less frequently seen works, and photographs from his student days right up to 2017, the exhibition will be an opportunity for followers of Hipkins' work to see how his career has unfolded, and for newcomers to discover one of our most innovative investigations of photography—its power and its shortcomings.
About the artist
Gavin Hipkins (born 1968, Auckland) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia; he is currently Associate Professor at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland.
Hipkins has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows throughout New Zealand and internationally. His film works have been shown in festivals including the New Zealand International Film Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival, and the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. He has held a number of residencies, including the inaugural New Zealand artist residency at Artspace Sydney, the McCahon House Residency, and the International Studio and Curatorial Program artist residency in New York.
The Domain is also an extensively illustrated book that combines new essays with a selection of art writing from the past 20 years.