The Archivists is an exhibition that spans the Sarjeant Gallery’s current exhibition spaces at 31 and 38 Taupo Quay and brings together a group of fourteen artists for whom drawing on archival material is an integral part of their practice.
The word archive carries with it a certain amount of weight, it implies importance and history but archives are not confined to the territories of the past as they are ongoing, constant, viral, epic and everyday. They can be of national significance, personal significance or no significance at all. Think about all the archives of information that are deleted from existence everyday, the contents of a house, a mind or a family.
Each of the artists featured in the exhibition draws inspiration for their own practice from many rich and varied sources: the history of ceramics; the fictional world of literature; imagery from classical mythology; the history of painting and design; and the imagined world of a fictional archive. A number of them are salvaging ‘found’ imagery from printed sources and using these images directly to create collaged works. In some cases they are pushing them into a whole new arena of animation and site specific painterly chaos in the form of a newly commissioned wall work for the exhibition.
In contrast to the endless imagery that can be sourced from discarded printed matter the exhibition also includes work that explores the idea of creating images that document and chart the history and change in a family. In doing so these artists have created unique archives that document their family histories at a particular moment in time. Now more than ever, we are bombarded on a daily basis with an overload of visual imagery. This exhibition brings together a diverse collection of works from a group of artists who sieve through elements of that onslaught. They make us ponder the archive, stop and think, look for the clues, the logic and the magic of their chosen media.
Curator and Public Programmes Manager