After the Situation: Moment Making

Bruce Barber (NZ/CAN), Simon Denny (NZ), Gaelen Macdonald (NZ), Tahi Moore (NZ), Bruce Nauman (USA), Kate Newby (NZ), Raised by Wolves (NZ), Dean Roberts (NZ), Diana Thater (USA), Kerry Tribe (USA), Tao Wells (NZ)

3 February – 3 March 2007

Curated by Laura Preston, 2006 Curatorial Intern

We live in a landscape of immediacy. Increasingly the climate of this time has become more concerned with instantaneous communication and understanding, operating - if it be actual or perceived - on a deeply capitalistic and globalised set of connections and networks. This in turn creates a retreat to the more particular and the personal. Increasingly it seems we are taking up a position within the noise of this multifarious and referential culture to locate a viewpoint, which is distinctive and autonomous. This exhibition is interested in looking closely at what occurs within the situation of the work itself. What happens once you are caught in dialogue with the work, when you share the same space? Moment Making looks at the ways contemporary art records and frames space to bring awareness to the complex and conceptual resonance of being situated and how meaning is made from this position. Further, the exhibition excavates a spatial understanding of the present by reflecting on the experience of contemporary art as an unfolding series of momentary situations. In the attempt to make meaning from this encounter, the experience of the work oscillates between form and content, where narratives form and reform through the communion of space.

Using the abstract nature of the moment to critically reflect on this particular matrix of time, even the static work in the exhibition performs. The works are multifaceted and carry a quality that is temporal and open to interpretation.  Charting four decades of making, the works in the exhibition are connected by a concern with recording oneself in space, where form is suggestive of function and repetition is a motif to explore the possibilities of complicating conditioned ways of looking. The difference from the work of the 1970s is in its gesture or rather how this has come to be perceived. In particular, sculpture in the 1970s embraced the new ground of juxtaposition and fragmentation to expand what art could be. It used the theories of phenomenology and conceptual practice to engage with material as idea, displacing the object to instead look at the activity of art itself. Is contemporary art still concerned with a reflexive and politicised exploration on the works own system of organisation? Does it continue to make present the situation itself? How does contemporary art operate within a climate of increasing immediacy and accumulative references?

Moment Making is an exhibition of performative encounters. Interested in that strange time delay that occurs when you are suspended between seeing and understanding, the works in Moment Making create situations that are distinctive yet multi-layered; full of potential trajectories and readings. Circumnavigating spatial tracings from the 1970s to 2007, Moment Making brings awareness to the present and being present, a concept that has become as abstract as the experience of a moment.

Bruce Barber performance


See available editions by Kate Newby 



Artspace would like to acknowledge the generous support from Renaissance, Crest Hotel, Moving Image Centre, New Zealand Film Archive, Auckland City Council and The Canada Council for the Arts.