Art New Zealand

Career Management Louise Menzies at the Hocken

It has been commonplace for some time to see making art as a form of research. Artists work in tertiary institutions and collect PBRF (Performance Based Research Funding) points. But Aucklander Louise Menzies really is the most conscientious of artist-researchers. Her research is deep and detailed, and she brings to light what would otherwise remain obscure or invisible. She has signed off from her residency in Dunedin as the Frances Hodgkins Fellow in admirably geekish style, with an exhibition at the Hocken Library that reveals the extent to which she has made use of that institution’s seemingly bottomless collections.

This is not to say that the exhibition is an encyclopaedic record of Menzies’ research, or that we wade through masses of information. Rather, it is a sparse, distilled summary: at one end, a relatively short video; at the other, three items of furniture, a two-page newspaper spread and a calendar; in between, a series of black-and-white prints. None of it can be ‘got’ straight off the bat, because there is a whole lot of history behind each carefully

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