Listened to a talk tonight by Julia Holderness at the Christchurch Art Galery.
Wonderful exploration of metaxy, medial aspect, “truth”, as I call it. (See this post with a quote from Harold Bloom about that idea.) An archive is in itself a construction. It becomes really interesting when this intentionally so. Julia Holderness also has some expansive ideas about persona and role reversal. That was what I got from her explanation from this sentence in her talk. “The production was never staged publicly, and in the absence of any surviving documentation, Holderness imagines these designs in an appliqué series.” It would be good to see her thesis!
Exhibitions | University of Canterbury
— Read on www.canterbury.ac.nz/arts/schools-and-departments/school-of-fine-arts/exhibitions/ (no longer on that site).
Working with a range of archival materials from the Macmillan Brown Library & Heritage Collections, Julia Holderness explores her own textile making alongside that of artist and teacher Florence Akins (1906-2012). Akins’ documents relate to her teaching of textiles at the Canterbury College School of Art, and include lecture notes and other instructional resources such as colour diagrams. Holderness reworks them and presents their possible entanglement with the international Bauhaus movement. Connections are also made with Florence Weir (1899-1979), currently the only known New Zealander to have studied at the Bauhaus. In 1936 Weir designed the costumes and sets for a local Christchurch production, and these were said to have been inspired by her time at the Bauhaus. The production was never staged publicly, and in the absence of any surviving documentation, Holderness imagines these designs in an appliqué series. This exhibition is part of a Visual Arts PhD in practice-led research at Auckland University of Technology, in which Holderness develops practices of fabrication, approximation and invention to interrogate archives and their construction of art-historical narratives.
“…construction of art-history.” ? I prefer that that way of putting it.
Through the use of invented personae, artworks and exhibitions, Holderness traces alternative histories of modernism in New Zealand, whilst exploring questions of truth and representation in historiography.