Wednesday, November 15

interview: ella harrington knapton (artist)

Ella Harrington Knapton is a Dunedin-based artist and collaborator, who is about to head off overseas for an artist residency in Japan. I caught up with Ella to talk about her plans and interesting projects she is working on.


Where are you now and when are you heading off on your residency?

I'm currently in Dunedin working all summer.  I’m travelling to Malaysia, India and Thailand for a short while before heading to Japan for an artist residency in March.

Why did you apply for this residency? 

Honestly, I was just having a really weird week and feeling a bit stuck (common winter Dunedin feelings) and started writing down some ideas for a drawing project. which quickly turned into a proposal that I sent off to a couple of places on the ResArtis website. All in one day haha. I was so surprised at the responses; I never thought it was that easy to do.

I chose this little place outside of Fukuoka because it had quite a diverse range of young artists visit recently. I spoke to a photographer from Belgium who was there and she really sold it to me. It’s a picturesque, traditional, rural area with mountains by the sea and the studio is a super relaxed and isolated working environment, so really you can take it as far as you like.

What projects have you been working on? 

I’m working on a little project where I’m making and collecting computer-based data like GPS tracking/traces and timelines and using them as drawing marks. I'm playing around with dislocation, disorder and control. I'm hoping to develop this work in Japan.

Another project I’m really excited about is a collaboration with Dunedin-based embroidery artist Lucinda King. We will work on the same giant bit of fabric and send it back and forth like a pen pal diary exchange, but with only stitches

Can you tell me about how your drawings got printed on shoes for a fashion show in China? 

I recently did a collaboration with F u r g who has made a ridiculously beautiful fashion collection for her Masters. I did the prints that were laser cut into the wooden shoes, which were part of this collection. F u r g was invited to an international showcase in Guangzhou. I also recently did a print collaboration with Company Of Strangers; it’s been a cool experience working with fashion designers this year.

What do you hope to be doing in 6 months' time? 

In six months I’ll still be in Japan but probably running out of money and trying to figure out where to move to next… I have no idea where I’m going to live. I'm thinking about heading to the blue mountains where my grandparents live and hiding out there for a while.

What are your three favourite objects in your bedroom? 

My ceiling-to-floor green velvet curtains, a pink ceramic “cat” my little brother made me years ago that is basically a curved fleshy log and maybe my faux wedding photo album.


Saturday, November 4

unmissable exhibitions in november

I am part of The Pantograph Punch's team of art writers who write short, snappy reviews of shows around New Zealand every month. It's a nation-wide gallery guide! Check out November's reviews here.

Friday, September 8

destined for extinction: elam's huia house

I wrote a feature about the Elam Students' Association's house in Huia. It's on land worth $500,000 but the house is falling apart.


Sunday, August 13

silence overgrown

As Kane said in his press release for this video, arriving in New York for his first overseas tour was the most surreal experience of his life. He made the video for his song, 'Silence Overgrown' with footage from the band's U.S. and European tours. There's something about it that captures that giddy feeling. It's sweet, charismatic and it's also quite funny.


soothing words and bloody deeds: on animals and the law

Nicolai Fechin, 'Slaughterhouse', 1919
I have a feature out on the first animal law conference in New Zealand. I'd be so stoked if you could check it out. You can find it on the Pantograph Punch here.


Sunday, August 6

the unmissables: four exhibitions to see in august

Octavia Cook, A Show of Eyes, 2017. Photo from Anna Miles Gallery.
I'm part of a wonderful team of art writers who do short reviews every month on exhibitions around New Zealand. The project is called 'The Unmissables' and hopes to provide a list of the best and most controversial shows for readers before the shows close. Check out the post for August here.


Tuesday, August 1

the tomorrow people at the adam art gallery

The Adam Art Gallery's The Tomorrow People exhibition text with the three texts I wrote for the show just arrived in the mail. I'm not sure if I will be able to make it down for the show, but if you're in Wellington, go along to an interesting exhibition filled with young artists and next generation thinking and practices. It closes on 01 October.

The artists in the show are: Wendelien Bakker, Diva Blair, Jesse Bowling, Teghan Burt, Quishile Charan, Sam Clague, Hikalu Clarke, Claudia Dunes & Rainer Weston, Fresh and Fruity, William Linscott, Isabella Loudon, Theo Macdonald, Annie Mackenzie & Dave Marshall, Ammon Ngakuru, Christina Pataialii, Maddy Plimmer, Deborah Rundle, Christopher Ulutupu, Tim Wagg, Daegan Wells, Aliyah Winter, Xun Cao, Yllwbro

Here is the press release text for the show:

The Tomorrow People is an exercise in future-oriented thinking. The exhibition brings together a selection of works from an emerging generation of artists that offer urgent, resourceful and playful possibilities for navigating troubling times.

The Tomorrow People emerges from a set of provocations around politics and creative practice in the present. Rather than attempting to offer answers, the show and its accompanying public programme invite open-ended discussion around the potentials and limitations of artmaking today.

These questions include: how have three decades of neoliberal policy, financialised capitalism, and global economic crises shaped our horizons of possibility for individual and collective living in Aotearoa New Zealand? If the once utopian possibilities of the Internet now seem worn, what potential remains within our thoroughly networked present for the articulation, undermining and imagining of identities, the forging of new bonds, and the building of spaces of care, social justice and emergence? Can art provide a site for solidarity, world-making, and refuge in an increasingly volatile contemporary moment? And if so, who gets a stake in the creation and maintenance of this site, and how do we extend the invitation of art to those who have otherwise been ignored, belittled, and kept at the periphery?

The title of the exhibition is borrowed from the 1973 Thames Television series: ‘The Tomorrow People’. In the show, a group of adolescents find themselves endowed with special powers, including teleportation, telekinesis and telepathy. These teenagers represent the supposedly next stage of human evolution, and are, throughout the series, tasked with overcoming evil forces for the good of humanity. Though ‘low-budget’ in every sense, this coming-of-age tale provides a tentative framework for thinking through how a generation of artists who have inherited a fractured, often overwhelming world, might be especially well-disposed to use these very conditions to arrive at better futures, even if, as the programme clearly revealed, they only have the present as the ground for imaginative projection.

Together with the artists included in the exhibition, the show brings new voices to bear, with new writing by Eloise Callister-Baker, Casey Carsel, Matilda Fraser, James Hope, Ellie Lee-Duncan, Dilohana Lekamge, Francis McWhannell, Robyn Maree Pickens, Hugo Robinson, Hanahiva Rose, Kari Schmidt, and Balamohan Shingade, published to accompany the works and a lively public programme which will feature three forums designed to expand on the questions raised by the exhibition.