The following Thursday the 28th May Elliot Collins will present his PGR9 seminar at2pm in WF610
This project investigates words and writing in New Zealand art since 1955, the date Colin McCahon painted I and Thou and the approximate time of the shift within New Zealand visual arts where language was utilized to address national themes of place and identity. My artistic research generates a series of artworks that reference other key canonical artworks within this given period. I make work that is a new and unique contribution to the New Zealand visual art and yet contain textual references to historic New Zealand art that creates a reflective arena for viewing our national identity. A notion of writing is approached through the concepts of erasure, absence, enigma and silence. The artwork of New Zealand visual arts studied as well as the artworks created are evaluated within this matrix. In this respect writing is approached as a trace structure. Key tropes of ‘monument’ and ‘landscape’ form a backdrop to these ideas of trace and erasure and are also present within my artistic research mentioned above. When text is juxtaposed against, or through,these devices, ideas of death, memory and national identity are evoked. The act of writing is explored in this context as a process that troubles oppositional structures of presence and absence. For example the monumental in my practice is enacted to ward off death; it acts as a way of remembrance and explores time, death and memory. The language within the monument documents and, in a self-reflective way, strengthens an immortal nature that my art is attempting to address.