Forgotten Spaces Brought Back to Life by Wellington Artist

6 July 2009

After causing a stir with a series of public photographic installations throughout Christchurch, Wellington-based artist James Voller will exhibit the results with 'Forgotten Space Remembered' at Toi Poneke Gallery from 17 July.

Influenced by some of the latest public art movements such as the national One Day Sculpture series, where tens of artworks lasting only 24 hours took place around the country over the last year, James placed large photographs in public settings – or forgotten spaces – throughout Christchurch. James says he was trying to "recharge" the unused sites and get passersby to engage with the sites in a different way.

"People will see large photos of the sites lining the gallery walls, and photos within photos," says James.  

A photographic installation at the back of the gallery will also feature in the exhibition. James says he'll transform the gallery walls by completely covering them with a life-sized cityscape.

As well as this, he'll run several workshops: some for school-aged children; one for WelTec students; and another for the general public to come along and make collages out of photos. Many of these works, including the school children's, will be exhibited at the Toi Pōneke foyer during the last week of the exhibition. Potential participants should phone Toi Pōneke Arts Centre on (04) 385 1929 for dates and times.

James says he has been obsessed with cameras for as long as he can remember. He focused on photography for his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Canterbury University and he's currently finishing a Masters in Fine Arts through the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He also teaches photography at Victoria University. James says he loves to combine teaching and working with people while exhibiting work.

"Fusing contemporary art ideas with community art in a gallery setting is a good way to dispel the so-called mysteries of ‘artspeak'," he says. "I've noticed while working with schools, for example, the average pre-teen mind can easily process all kinds of ideas and be comfortable in their artistic expression – all this comes before adolescent insecurities. I'd love for people of all ages to be able to achieve this at the workshops."

Forgotten Space Remembered opens on Friday 17 July and will run until Friday 7 August at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street.