Artist | Caroline McQuarrie
Tunnels Pits Pools, with Connah Podmore
Caroline McQuarrie and Connah Podmore
Tunnels Pits Pools
A series of exchanges
Written and rewritten across the land are marks of our living upon it. Neat village greens, dense weatherbeaten bushtracks, miraculous decending walkways through stone to sea and sun - any given landscape will give clues as to the environments that people have (or have not) created for themselves, and the lives that they lived within them. This version of landscape, one of human concept, and a palimpsest of human experience, is the focus of Tunnels, pits, pools. Through the twelve excavated landscapes explored in this exhibition, we ask what has been done to the land, and what does it do to us?
The spaces considered in Tunnels, pits, pools were dug by working men; sometimes in the hope of making their own fortune, sometimes to better their communities, and sometimes to contribute to the fortunes and leisure time of those with more wealth. Rather than the more simplistic issue of ‘humankind’s control over landscape’, this exhibition seeks to explore which humans, at which times, had control over land that other people lived and worked on. Taking a socio-economic angle, rather than the cultural one usual for Aotearoa, we ask: did the people who changed our landscape through their labour reap the rewards of their effort? Of course some believe they should not have been rewarded, but regardless their visibility in the collective perception of our history is important in understanding the post-colonial capitalist paradigm that continues to shape our country.
Tunnels, pits, pools explores what our interpretation of these marked landscapes say about ourselves. Many of the sites considered in this exhibition, have taken on a different purpose to that initially intended, and have become assimilated through time and subsequent use. Tunnels, pits, pools investigates how both the original act of making and its naturalisation can be appreciated through representation in different forms; photographs of historic sites, texts, and the creation of sculptural elements. Notibly, artwork created for this exhibition places an emphasis on the acts of both noticing and making – whether this be by documenting that which was made, revealing an ongoing thought process, or making (and unmaking) objects by hand. The work for this exhibition looks back, but firmly places itself in the present. While it probes, speculates and re-enacts, it knowingly does so from across the distance of time and circumstance, and acknowledges that the current climate will have influenced the direction of the work produced – as it would have for those before us, and will for those after. Tunnels, pits, pools simply offers another layer of marks to these landscapes.
Caroline McQuarrie & Connah Podmore
Tunnels pits pools was originally exhibitied at play_station Art Project Space, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington in 2017
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