The River Remains; ake tonu atu


Design: Alessandra Banal


The River Remains; ake tonu atu

Tyson Campbell
Wai Ching Chan
Faamele Etuale
Olyvia Hong
Bronte Perry


15 September - 20 October, 2018

Artspace 1/300 Karangahape Road, Auckland
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturdays 11am - 4pm
Free entry


Artspace NZ is pleased to present The River Remains; ake tonu atu, this years iteration of the New Artist Show:

At the time of writing, there are two weeks until the opening event. In one sense the exhibition is already underway. The Artspace NZ gallery commonly understood and experienced as exhibition space is now a zone of thinking. Artspace NZ is for the minute a multi-person relational entity comprised of  Bronte, Faamele, Olyvia, Tyson, and Wai, the curators, and mentors around the project. The exhibition,The River Remains; ake tonu atu is an opportunity for the collective reconsideration of the conceptual, aesthetic, political and social concerns that these artists address to the conventions and institutions around contemporary art practice.

The exhibition is conceptualised as a durational “event,” one that reframes ways of thinking and being for the artists, the institution and the audience alike. For the five artists the exhibition speaks to the process of rhizomatic creative exchanges central to the dialogues around the production of the exhibition. The necessity of dialogue to navigate both aesthetics and the social circumstances around exhibition is a central tenet for each artist in the show. The process emphasizes the notion of walking backwards into the future. The sight of what the exhibition is will be understood in retrospect.

The whakatauki, Ka mua, ka muri, aptly describes the practices by each artist alluding to the significance of indigeneity for their practices and in framing institutional dialogues. They are each examining where they have come from, what they have decided to bring with them to Artspace NZ, what priorities are paramount. In their hands, the gallery has, for the minute, been stripped of its primary function to present the outcomes of art practices and aesthetic research. Artspace NZ is now the site for the production of a series of ethical dialogues by the artists and curators who are together concerned with the aesthetic, the social, the economic and political realities of art production. The outcomes of these elliptical and vital conversations address questions toward art as a contemporary practice embedded complex, networked systems.

The artists speak of holding the institution “to ransom” in order to engage with and imagine ways to re-formulate these embedded practices. To this extent, the gallery is now a laboratory for these artists. The collective imagining of a variety of means to place the value and importance of the ‘social’ is at the forefront of this project ahead of any indexical aesthetic register or consideration of the commodity value of art.

-  Steve Lovett


This years New Artist Show continues the mentorship format of previous years - wherein emerging artists are supported by senior practitioners during an intense time of production Artspace NZ transforms into a working studio.

Evolving from New Perspectives with Simon Denny in 2016, and Dirt Future with Hamishi Farah in 2017, this year’s The River Remains; ake tonu atu offers guidance from artist nominated mentor, artist and educator Steve Lovett, the internal team of Artspace NZ, and visiting mentors.

This journey started with an open call entitled No Fingerlicking, in which applicants were challenged to respond to “take bodily ownership of our future and turn the page”. Since late August, the artists have been working in what is normally a public exhibition space, concentrating away from the public eye on collective and supportive work. This result is not only the exhibition, but also a statement, a form of documentation that shows steps of their research and common concerns in relation to the institute that invited them, the social obligations that are being expected and the imagination that is placed on artists and their works.

Remco de Blaaij, Director Artspace NZ says: “It has been great to experience Artspace NZ as a living workplace, it has been weeks of intense work and crucial discussions for everyone involved. It makes one think on how we can learn from them, support their mahi and to celebrate the high-level of social thinking within contemporary NZ arts practice.”

With special thanks to visiting mentors:

Cameron Ah Loo-Matamua
Jacob Rāniera
Taarati Taiaroa
Shannon Te Ao
Desna Whaanga-Schollum


Public Programme
Free and open to everyone

Sunday 16 September 2pm - 3pm
Group Artist Talk

Saturday 22 September 1pm - 2pm
Directors Tour with Remco De Blaaij

Saturday 6 October from 1pm
Lunch-Time Leis with Faamele Etuale 

Tuesday 2 October 6pm - 8pm
1 + 1 = Many of Us: Knotting Workshop with Wai Ching Chan and Olyvia Hong

Thursday 11 October 6pm - 9pm
Artweek: Electric Night


This exhibition is kindly supported by the Chartwell Trust and Creative New Zealand