Pilgrimage by Andy Palmer & David Boyce

Pilgrimage
by Andy Palmer & David Boyce
20th August-5th December

The latest Light Box exhibition in Courtenay Place is another example of artists producing an exhibition related to the Rugby World Cup, so there’s no refuge from it, not even in the art galleries. To be fair, World War II inspired some good art as well.

The Light Box exhibitions are always heavy on explanation – in politics (as we’ve been told repeatedly in an election run-up not notable for its intellectual dimension) to explain is to lose. In art, explaining is the only way to get CreativeNZ funding. Pilgrimage “sidestep[s] the obvious”, but only to the extent that it’s not a mythical athlete/warrior being hoisted aloft by his comrades to catch a fucking gold ball. It looks “at the ways rugby permeates our lives, landscapes and national identity*”, and while Boyce’s shots of kinetic lights are very pretty, and Palmer’s photos of placid green fields are calming, they’re not at all well-formatted for the tall, narrow lightboxes they appear in.

Instead of being cropped to fit the space, Palmer’s landscape-format images of, well, landscapes, have vast blank areas above and below, filled with a bilious ’70s green colour. It’s a waste, and a bit of a bloodyminded one at that, considering this is his second Light Box exhibition. Boyce’s photos are influenced by Chinese calligraphy, which at least means the images go up and down instead of sideways, which is the right direction for something two metres tall.

There’s nothing wrong with the images, but the Light Box space is a unique format, and it would be nice to see an artist work with that properly instead of cramming something into a space where it doesn’t fit. Hang on…

*That brief is a tricky one. It’s hard to conceptualise violent monocultural cretinism.
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