Photographer turns Embassy Theatre inside-out

1 July 2015

Wellington’s Embassy Theatre is turned inside-out in a new public artwork by James Voller.

Abstracted Histories – Embassy Theatre Project by James Voller

Abstracted Histories – Embassy Theatre Project by James Voller


A photographic montage of the Embassy’s interior has been installed on the outside of the building as it undergoes a makeover combining archival imagery with Voller’s own photographs.

Abstracted Histories – Embassy Theatre Project, stretches across shrink-wrap and scaffolding along Majoribanks Street and will be in place until the renovation is complete over the coming months. Voller’s photographs suggest breaking through the façade to reveal aspects of the building’s social and architectural history.

“The artwork looks at how we preserve and maintain buildings of local and historical importance,” says Voller. “The Embassy is an iconic part of Wellington’s identity as a hub for local and international involvement with cinema.”

In Abstracted Histories Voller is interested the connection between photographs as a way of looking into the past and heritage buildings as artefacts or markers of the past.

“I chose the Embassy as a site as it has a well-documented history and is a building that’s main purpose is looking at moving images,” says Voller. “Placing still images on the outside of the Embassy adds another function allowing for another conversation on architecture and imagery.”

The Abstracted Histories public programme will include a free photography workshop by Voller and talks by the artist and ongoing collaborator Robin Aitken at City Gallery at 2pm on 18 July.

Aitken and Voller have a collaborative practice called Edge of the Grid that explores links between photography and architecture. Their collaboration stems from how architecture changes landscapes whilst photographs record them.

James Voller’s photographic practice started in Wellington and has a strong connection to both the landscape and a range of artists working in the city.  Voller recently completed his Masters of Fine Art by research at Monash University in Melbourne. He has exhibited in New Zealand, Australia and Europe and previously worked as a photographic design tutor at Victoria University.

Robin Aitken completed his Masters of Architecture at Victoria University in 2010 and is currently working at Athfield Architects. Aitken recently returned from South America where he undertook research into cities and their rural boundaries.