Past projects

A yellow and red surface with liquid dripping down it.

Laura Duffy, Garden of Purity

Resize

Garden of Purity

31 August - 9 December 2018
Artist: Laura Duffy

Garden of Purity considers how we read and ingest imagery, drawing links through history from art history to advertising. Duffy sees the works as being a layered conversation about Catholicism, advertising, abjection, and queerness. She uses edible materials as a starting point for the series of digitally manipulated photographs in the light boxes and online video works. The series intends to prompt questions about traditional notions of beauty and divinity by blurring the lines between repulsion and desire.

gardenofpurity.space

Brooch made from New Zealand 10 cent coin by Matthew

Matthew McIntyre Wilson, 'The Price of Change'

Resize

Whetū Whitu

1 June - 20 August
Artist: Matthew McIntyre Wilson (Taranaki, Ngā Māhanga and Titahi)

Tērā Matariki ka rewa i te pae
Nau mai, haramai te hua o te tau hou…

Whetū Whitu is a series of  brooches that reflect the stories of Puanga and Matariki. The brooches are part of McIntyre Wilson’s ongoing Price of Change Series which feature re-purposed imagery cut from New Zealand, Cook Island and British coins. Brooches are normally pinned to the wearer, but for this exhibition they adorned light boxes as large-scale prints.

Find out more in Nikki Hessell’s essay on Whetū Whitu (612KB PDF)

Native Eye series of light boxes in Courtenay Place, Wellington.

Native Eye

2 February–late May 2018
Artist: SuzanneTamaki (curated by Reuben Friend)

Courtenay Place became the latest runway venue for Māori fashion designer and artist Suzanne Tamaki. Renowned in art circles as a social provocateur, her politically charged garments and fashion shoots merged indigenous New Zealand Māori textiles and designs with modern business attire, creating a unique style of adornment that goes far beyond fashion. Each of the art-fashion garments and fashion photographs featured in the light boxes drew inspiration from Māori interpretations of Western concepts such as feminism, or mana wāhine.

Lightshades.
Resize

New nightclub for Courtenay Place

1 August 2017–26 January 2018
Artist: Susana Torre and Raphaela Rose

Collaborative arts duo Lightreading worked with architects Susana Torre and Raphaela Rose to design a fictitious, new, and socially progressive nightclub complex for Courtenay Place.Their designs are based on interviews with a range of women who’ve helped shape Wellington’s nightlife over the past 50 years.

Photo showing one of the lightboxes installed in Courtenay Place, reading
Resize

Magical Māori Mystery Tour of Wellington

1 April–30 July
Designed by: Johnson Witehirai and Kemi Niko
Curated by: Tina Makereti
Written by: Debbie Broughton and guests

This textual light box project engages elements of poetry, pastiche and parody to both explore a personal history of Wellington and critique the way Māori histories are represented.

Detail of Modulation by Shannon Novak - a bright pink background with tonal, geometric forms over top.
Resize

Modulation

2016
Artist: Shannon Novak (curated by Andrew Clifford)

Shannon Novak’s Courtenay Place Park light box project Modulation demonstrates his ongoing interest in the ways we perceive shape, space, colour, rhythm, energy and sound. He creates chromatic and compositional relationships that respond to both visual references and the energy of an object, site or body.

This project creates a dynamic experience that is engaging and interactive. Through the use of mobile technology, it encourages new audiences to experience traditional forms of art. It activates another dimension of the light boxes, extending their reach into virtual space. The light boxes build awareness of the phenomenon of synaesthesia and its potential for creative exploration, as well as (re)connecting the disciplines of visual art, music and moving image/animation.

Read Curator Andrew Clifford's essay about Modulation (173KB PDF) to find out more.

Resize

We don't have to be the building

12 August–5 December 2016
Artist: Sian Torrington

Artist Sian Torrington’s project We Don’t Have to be the Building featured in the Courtenay Place light boxes from August to December in 2016. The assemblage works photographed for the light boxes are the result of an extensive, interactive, community-based project exploring queer activism around Homosexual Law Reform 30 years ago, and asking what queer activism is today.

“Art helps us to find ways to tell our stories. I'm looking at the coming-out process – telling our personal stories as a form of activism. That includes stories about our sexuality. I’ve been searching for my own and our community whakapapa of sexuality and protest. I'm focusing on lesbian, bi-sexual, queer, trans*, mana wahine, takataapui and female-identified activists,” says Sian. 

We Don’t Have to be Building was supported by the Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, Creative New Zealand, Rainbow Wellington and a successful Boosted campaign.

From the Eather exhibition

From the Aether

7 April–31 July 2016
Curator: Caroline McQuarrie

From the Aether showcased Wellington artists whose interest in amateur science was brought together into a ‘cabinet of curiosities’. From the Aether featured artists: Jonathan Kay, Shaun Matthews and Bonny Stewart-MacDonald. The exhibition's aim was to celebrate exploring the world around us through easily accessible science.

Two light boxes with images by Richard Shepherd.
Resize

Romance

December 2015–April 2016
Artist: Richard Shepherd

Richard Shepherd's light box exhibition Romance is made from pictures photographed live from broadcast television. It reflects and illuminates our pixel-blasted lives, providing a daydream-like backdrop to the drift and jostle of the city.

Sculpture of a face made out of stiffened wool that was cast into a resin, fibreglass and iron powder mix by artist Des Hughes
Resize

The Visitors

August–December 2015
Artist: Des Hughes (curated by Katharine Allard)

British artist Des Hughes created new work especially for the light boxes, translating his quasi-humanoid sculptures into photographic form.

To make the sculptures, Hughes used sheets of wool cut from jerseys to create individual faces and bodies. He stiffened the wool and cast it into a resin, fibreglass and iron powder mix that was rusted and fettled. The work was then carefully photographed and the sculptures sent in digital form from the UK where Hughes is currently living.

Curator and arts producer, Katharine Allard, holds a Masters of Fine Arts (Hons) from Massey University. Her previous projects include directing The Art Box Project, a series of 10 temporary public artworks in Wellington, and managing artist Gabby O’Connor’s large paper iceberg sculpture, What Lies Beneath, for a theatre foyer in Oxford, England.  

Resize

The Colour of Courtenay Place

7 April–31 July 2015
Artist: Gary Peters

As colour perception had its 15 minutes of internet fame with that dress, artist Gary Peters launched The Colour of Courtenay Place – a series of 16 bold, urban monochrome works, which encouraged us to look more closely at the space and colour around us.

Unlike that dress, there was no confusing the colours in Wellington’s Courtenay Place.

The Colour of Courtenay Place was the first large-scale public artwork for Peters, taking his colourful work out of the studios and galleries and onto the streets.

Peters encouraged us to look again at our environment, to pause for a moment and notice the details we normally overlook. These slabs of colour, devoid of text and advertising, offered us a visual pause in the busyness of the strip, and invited us to take a moment and be curious about looking at the space we inhabit.

Kemi Niko & Co light box exhibition.
Resize

Huts of Welling Town

5 December–29 March 2015
Artist: Kemi Niko & Co.

Artists Kemi & Niko brought everything you love about the backcountry to Courtenay Place.

In tandem with their project Miniature Hikes, these light boxes acted like photographic portals to seven magical miniature huts located across Wellington's diverse backyard.

Hidden in the bush, at the beach and on windy summits, these individually themed, colourful, and interactive miniatures celebrate the honesty and unexpected comfort of the backcountry hut.

Teasing out a love of summer adventure, an intricately hand-drawn map also provides curious passersby with the hut’s locations.

Sarah Jane Parton's light box exhibition in Courtenay Place.
Resize

It's love, isn't it?

29 August–30 November 2014
Artist: Sarah Jane Parton (curated by Jessica Scott)

Prominent multimedia artist and writer Sarah Jane Parton’s art work, It’s love, isn’t it? explores the quest for love on Courtenay Place. A series of works that combine images and text, Sarah’s work takes its name from the title of a book of love poems by Alistair Te Ariki Campbell and Meg Campbell.

The visual references for the exhibition came from posters made in the 1980s and 90s, the journey between the moments when her birth parents met in the Courtenay Place McDonald’s when they were 16; and when Sarah started to think about love as sex. Sarah has worked with 15 writers, photographer Matt Grace and graphic designer Alice Clifford.

Together they have created a love story inspired by the possibilities of the inner-city location of the light boxes, and have drawn on the associations of Courtenay Place as a site of potential meetings and the fruitless pursuit of love.

Johnson Witehira's Land of Tara exhibition installed in Courtenay Place lightboxes.
Resize

The Land of Tara

10 April –3 August 2014
Artist: Johnson Witehira

Designer and artist Johnson Witehira presents a new and bold series of digital portraits in his light box exhibition The Land of Tara. Standing in each light box are Witehira’s graphic representations of ancestors such as Kupe, Whatonga, and his sons Tautoki and Tara (after whom Wellington harbour, Te-Whanganui-a Tara, is named).

Acting like pou-tāhuhu support pillars found in wharenui, the depicted artworks transformed Courtenay Place Park into a meeting place suggestive of a Marae. Striking and highly visible to Wellingtonians during the city’s Matariki festival, this exhibition further developed the artist’s exploration of Māori and Pacific designs in a contemporary context.

Production Still exhibition installed at Courtenay Place, at night.
Resize

Production Stills

6 December 2013–6 April 2014
Artist: Daniel von Sturmer (curated by Rob Garrett)

Production Stills presents a series of works using a collection of found objects and recycled materials to form improbable sculptural stacks. The works defy logical reading, confounding the innate understanding of gravity, friction and balance.

Daniel von Sturmer’s work uses various media to explore questions about the nature of perception, the embodiment of time and how context and framing shape the meaning and experience of an art-work. Developed from studio based experiments and observations, video and photography is used in the work to reframe common materials and objects as unlikely props from which philosophical questions can arise.

Installation image of Holland Street exhibition.
Resize

Holland Street

15 August–1 December 2013
Artists/curators: Sarah Caylor and Ann Shelton)

Taking as its starting point two 19th-century events - London's cholera outbreak of 1854 and Wellington's typhoid epidemic of 1890-2 - Holland Street recalls a world where disease was thought to travel through miasma (noxious air) and bacteria were believed to be as real as 'Hydras, and Gorgons, and Chimeras Dire'.

Holland Street uses differing visual approaches to map critical sites related to these two disease events, one marking the birth of modern epidemiology, and another resulting in the construction of Wellington's sewerage system.

In telling this story, Holland Street places the spectre of human waste at centre stage. The work addresses the cultural, ideological, and medical contexts and consequences of an epidemic that took place in the area of Courtenay Place Park. In imposing a visual interruption of the streetscape, Holland Street encourages us to envisage an otherwise invisible conceptual and material infrastructure, tracing its roots back to the 19th century and forward to the present.

News - Typhoid, cholera and light boxes on Courtenay Place - 25.07.13 

Collisions exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.
Resize

Against the Prevailing Winds - The public / Collisions Issue

19 April–5 August 2013
Writers/Artists: Pip Adam, Sarah Jane Barnett, Airini Beautrais, Eleanor Catton, Joan Fleming, Peter Gouge, Amy Howden-Chapman, Lynn Jenner, Chloe Lane, Tina Makereti, Tahi Moore, Bill Nelson, Rachel O’Neill, Lawrence Patchett, Campbell Patterson, John Summers
Curator: Hue & cry
Design: The International Office

The title of this light box exhibition is taken from an issue of the Wellington-based art and literary journal Hue & Cry

Sixteen writers and artists were commissioned to write a text, or make a text-based work, in response to the idea that Hue & Cry and Wellington are both centres of collision. 

Against the Prevailing Winds - The Public / Collisions Issue might be thought of as a collision of voices, mediums, and communities. 

Collisions happen in Wellington too. And here the results are mixed - funny, sad, embarrassing, creepy, productive, wet, and even romantic.

Looking Up to You exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.
Resize

Looking Up to You

12 December–8 April 2013
Artists / Curators: Cat Auburn and Fiona Pardington

Looking Up to You uses photography to explore the dynamic between two artists separated by distance and experience. Emerging artist Cat Auburn and established artist Fiona Pardington swap, switch and subvert each others' artistic practices.

Taking Courtenay Place as a starting point, the artists merge contemporary and archival material to reveal an intricate tangle of past, present, and future mythologies for Wellington. A visual feast in the light boxes exploring the intricacies of history and memory, private and public, idolisation and emulation, and narratives of desire.

Installation image of Local Coordinates exhibition.
Resize

Local Coordinates

10 August–3 December 2012
Artist: Molly Samsell (curated by Andrea Bell)

Local Coordinates is a series of photographic images by Molly Samsell. These images present a composite of surfaces - from exterior brick walls to decorative interior features. Photographic moments of stillness are presented in contrast to the dynamic urban movement in Courtenay Place, creating a space that disrupts the pace of the everyday.

Ever Green exhibition installed on Courtenay Place, at night.
Resize

Ever Green 

3 April–6 August 2012
Artists / Curators: Jenny Gillam and Dieneke Jansen

Ever Green is a photographic project which explores how 'nature' exists in a built environment.

The artists exploit the outdoor location and physical structure of the Courtenay Place light boxes to question the ways urban dwellers experience nature.

Imaginary Geographies exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.
Resize

Imaginary Geographies

8 December–2 April 2012
Artists: Elaine Campaner (Australia), Alex Dorfsman (Mexico), Jae Hoon Lee (Korea), Kerry Ann Lee (Dunedin), Brian Samuels (Wellington), Gemma Syme (Wellington) and Kate Woods (Wellington)
Curator: Claudia Arozqueta

Artists from New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Korea draw on real and imagined landscapes to encourage passers-by to take a fresh look at public space.

Pilgrimage exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.
Resize

Pilgrimage

20 August–5 December 2011
Artists: Andy Palmer and David Boyce (curated by Andy Palmer)

Pilgrimage is a collaborative exhibition by photographers Andy Palmer and David Boyce, which explores the essence of rugby and sporting culture in New Zealand.

The photographers move beyond the game itself, to look at the ways rugby permeates our lives, landscapes and national identity.

Image of Bryce Galloway light box exhibition on Courtenay Place.
Resize

Bryce Galloway's Light Box Project

5 May–15 August 2011
Artist: Bryce Galloway (curated by Emma Febvre-Richards)

"What would aliens make of Courtenay Place?" was one of many questions artist Bryce Galloway asked passers-by for his Courtenay Place Park Light Box Project. Other questions included "what's the most important thing you did today?" and "have you ever broken anything on Courtenay Place?"

The light box project shows a selection of the responses together with a sketch of the participants.

Installation image of All the Cunning Stunts exhibition.
Resize

All the Cunning Stunts

17 December–31 march 2011
Artists: Liz Allan, Clare Noonan, Rachel O'Neill and Marnie Slater(curated by Mary-Jane Duffy)

All the Cunning Stunts is a collaborative exhibition developed to coincide with the second Asia Pacific Outgames.

Installation image of Cloudfold exhibition.
Resize

Cloudfold

24 june–December 2010
Artist: Cathryn Monro (curated by Mark Hutchins)

Cloudfold features a series of photographs showing cloudscapes, glimpsed through close folds of material.

As well as providing Wellingtonians with a welcome relief from the grey skies, Cathryn explores how our ideas are viewed through a screen of cultural social and personal perspectives.

Three Stories Up exhibition installed on Courtenay Place.
Resize

Three Stories Up

21 December 2009–June 2010
Artist: Gabrielle McKone (curated by James Gilberd)

Three Stories Up featured 48 photographic artworks, stacked three-high in the 16 light boxes.

The images displayed Wellington street scenes captured by a compact digital camera in a 'shoot from the hip' style of photography.

Installation image of Love Notes, showing a photograph of a handwritten note reading
Resize

Love Notes (2005)

19 June–19 December 2009
Artist: Marie Shannon (curated by Heather Galbraith, City Gallery)

Love Notes featured 16 private handwritten notes - offering an unexpectedly intimate encounter within this large-scale public display.

The notes expressed love through various shorthand jottings, acronyms and more elaborately drawn compositions.

Shannon's photographs presented tangible evidence of seemingly anonymous intimacy.

Installation image of Give Us a Sign exhibition.
Resize

Give Us a Sign

17 December 2008–14 June 2009
Artists: Various (curated by Heather Galbraith, City Gallery Wellington )

Light boxes have been used for a long time in public space for commercial advertising or public service announcements.

Give Us a Sign did not aim to sell products, but rather offered a platform for ideas within a busy retail and entertainment district.

Seven artists and/or graphic designers were invited to each contribute two or three works responding to the call to 'Give us a sign - a message, a proclamation, a warning, a proposition; a way to make things better'.

Installation image of Flanerie and Figments showing NAKED LADY WITH TATTOOS.
Resize

Flânerie and Figments

May–December 2008
Artist: Various (curated by Andy Palmer and Simon Bush-King)

Flânerie and Figments was the first light box exhibition. It featured images by eight Wellington-based emerging photographers: Andy Palmer, John Lake, Victoria Birkenshaw, Shaun Lawson, Amelia Handscomb, Steve Rowe, Jessica Silk and Clare Noonan.

Artists were invited to respond to Wellington's urban condition. The outcome was an exhibition that reflected a diversity of photographic techniques and subject matter - from people to landscapes - each with Wellington at its heart.