A world undone

A world undone – Works from the Chartwell Collection

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, New Zealand

Dates: Exhibition is open on Saturday 8 November 2014 to 5 April 2015, Level 2 Chartwell Gallery.

A world undone - Works from the Chartwell Collection, installation view

Image: Installation view, image courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery.

A Challenge!

Gestures, chance, materials, space, senses, vision, thought, making ... all words used to describe something essentially non-verbal – a conundrum for sure that challenges our ability to interpret visual abstract information but one that Chartwell investigates through its collection of contemporary art works. As viewers, we perceive, access and respond to artist’s ideas – the challenge is to take those ideas and run with them, explore them further, test them, unravel them, embrace them, echo them, and answer them with ideas of our own.

Welcome to A world undone – Works from the Chartwell Collection, curated by Stephen Cleland. Chartwell strongly supports the view that creative visual thinking, within the art-making and viewing experience, delivers opportunities for everyone to grow their imagining minds. The Collection is on long-term loan to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, because we know the Gallery to be a ‘gymnasium for the mind’ available to all who visit.

Chartwell sees the Collection as a tool with which to stimulate new ideas, opening the mind and expanding the ideation functions of the brain. Each of us has the capacity for inventive, productive thought within the art experience: a skill transferable to all activities in life, which in the process helps grow innovative and successful communities.

The works in A world undone are a sample from the Collection which comprises 1,481 works to date and is growing. The exhibition provides an opportunity to perceive the Collection as a work in progress – itself an investigation into the significance of non-verbal ideation.

In recent times, the impressive development of research-based enquiry done by the Creative Thinking Project at The University of Auckland is reinforcing our interest in the vast potential of the human creative process across all disciplines. We see A world undone as revealing a world open to the mysteries of this kind of expansive, creative thought. Through recent international acquisitions, this world is explored even more in the Collection, enabling an extended understanding of the interconnectedness and mobility of artists’ practices globally and of the value of collaborative creativity.

A world undone – Works from the Chartwell Collection includes sculpture, painting, prints, installation and video works from 26 artists and demonstrates the wide range of art practices today. It includes works by Hany Armanious, John Baldessari, Andrew Barber, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Martin Creed, Daniel Crooks, Richard Frater, Gavin Hipkins, Nicholas Mangan, Dane Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Peter Robinson, Jessica Stockholder, Richard Tuttle, Rohan Wealleans and others.

We acknowledge Stephen Cleland and Zara Stanhope, and the Auckland Art Gallery team for their work in realising this exhibition.

We invite you to join us in A world undone and to consider the potential benefits of active, engaged viewing of these works and the unique benefits they offer. The gallery team along with associated designers and writers, have produced a catalogue which will be launched on and available from 28 November 2014.

Video/Audio artist interviews »
We've made a series of short video and audio interviews with artists in the exhibition.

Further Reading

Exhibition publication excerpt by Rebecca Ward »
Excerpt from the exhibition publication - Chartwell/Artists Alliance Intern Rebecca Ward was commissioned by the Auckland Art Gallery publication team, in association with Associate Professor Linda Tyler of the University of Auckland, to write about some of the works in the show.

Notes on Daniel Crooks' An Embroidery of Voids »
The result of a conversation between Chartwell Trustee Rob Gardiner and Chartwell/Artists Alliance Intern Rebecca Ward.

Art, Mediation and Contemporary Art Emergent practices »
Essay by Associate Pro-Warden Janis Jefferies, Professor of Visual Arts, Goldsmiths Digital Studios, Computing, who presented a relevant paper around this topic at the 2013 ICEA Conference in Australia.

Robert Rauschenberg - Cardbird

Robert Rauschenberg - Cardbird

“A fundamental shift in subject and material occurred in Rauschenberg’s work from the 1960s to the 1970s. In the 1960s he relied heavily upon American visual culture whereas in the 1970s Rauschenberg embraced an international perspective. The works from the 1970s also reflect his incessant experimentation with new materials. Where the 1960s were dominated by repetitive mass media imagery, the 1970s reveal a focus on natural fibres, a simplification of the artist’s materials to incorporate fabric, cardboard and other natural elements such as mud, rope and handmade paper. The catalyst for this dramatic change in both subject matter and material can be explained by a change in Rauschenberg’s physical environment – his decision to move from New York City to Captiva Island, Florida, had a profound effect on the appearance of his work.

With no city to offer up its detritus, the artist turned to the things that surrounded him in his new environment and the move had yielded numerous cardboard boxes. Rauschenberg has suggested that his choice of cardboard as a new material was the result of ‘a desire … to work in a material of waste and softness. Something yielding with its only message a collection of lines imprinted like a friendly joke. A silent discussion of their history exposed by their new shapes’. The Cardbird series of 1971 is a tongue-in-cheek visual joke, a printed mimic of cardboard constructions. The labour intensive process involved in the creation of the series remains invisible to the viewer – the artist created a prototype cardboard construction which was then photographed and the image transferred to a lithographic press and printed before a final lamination onto cardboard backing. The extreme complexity of construction belies the banality of the series and, in this way, Rauschenberg references both Pop’s Brillo boxes by Andy Warhol and Minimalist boxes such as those by Donald Judd. By selecting the most mundane of materials, Rauschenberg once again succeeds in a glamorous makeover of the most ordinary of objects. This is an exploration of a new order of materials, a radical scrambling of the material hierarchy of modernism...”

Excerpt from Jaklyn Babington
Curator, International Prints and Drawings, http://nga.gov.au/Rauschenberg/

Back to Gallery Overview »

Robert Rauschenberg - Cardbird

Robert Rauschenberg - Cardbird

“A fundamental shift in subject and material occurred in Rauschenberg’s work from the 1960s to the 1970s. In the 1960s he relied heavily upon American visual culture whereas in the 1970s Rauschenberg embraced an international perspective. The works from the 1970s also reflect his incessant experimentation with new materials. Where the 1960s were dominated by repetitive mass media imagery, the 1970s reveal a focus on natural fibres, a simplification of the artist’s materials to incorporate fabric, cardboard and other natural elements such as mud, rope and handmade paper. The catalyst for this dramatic change in both subject matter and material can be explained by a change in Rauschenberg’s physical environment – his decision to move from New York City to Captiva Island, Florida, had a profound effect on the appearance of his work.

With no city to offer up its detritus, the artist turned to the things that surrounded him in his new environment and the move had yielded numerous cardboard boxes. Rauschenberg has suggested that his choice of cardboard as a new material was the result of ‘a desire … to work in a material of waste and softness. Something yielding with its only message a collection of lines imprinted like a friendly joke. A silent discussion of their history exposed by their new shapes’. The Cardbird series of 1971 is a tongue-in-cheek visual joke, a printed mimic of cardboard constructions. The labour intensive process involved in the creation of the series remains invisible to the viewer – the artist created a prototype cardboard construction which was then photographed and the image transferred to a lithographic press and printed before a final lamination onto cardboard backing. The extreme complexity of construction belies the banality of the series and, in this way, Rauschenberg references both Pop’s Brillo boxes by Andy Warhol and Minimalist boxes such as those by Donald Judd. By selecting the most mundane of materials, Rauschenberg once again succeeds in a glamorous makeover of the most ordinary of objects. This is an exploration of a new order of materials, a radical scrambling of the material hierarchy of modernism...”

Excerpt from Jaklyn Babington
Curator, International Prints and Drawings, http://nga.gov.au/Rauschenberg/

Back to Gallery Overview »