Little Metonym was a group show curated by Auckland-based artist Robin Murphy for Hapori. It’s a peripatetic project that puts on only two events in temporary spaces that run for just one weekend, and makes two publications per year. All occupying a space that looks like a recently emptied doctors’ waiting room, the works in Little Metonym, running November 13 to 15, adopt their positions as though they’ve always meant to be there. It seems as though the exhibition has been curated incredibly slowly, bit-by-bit, perfectly. Jessie Howell has made a shiny stained-glass window inside a thin long space that cuts a turquoise wall, next to a door. The window is made from transparent plastic that has almost turned into aluminium its so creased and reflective. On top of that and hanging heavy-headed towards the floor is a small bunch of pale pink roses.
In a couple of locations around the space work is tight against actual windows, or at least ceiling light panels. Individual sheets by Teghan Burt comprise drawings, rubbings and photographs printed on A4. They trail down the window vertically like they are looking out in an orderly queue. Each installation here lends itself so well to language and description. There is intimacy in the connection between what you actually see and what the work also does in words. Other sheets by Burt are contact sheets and they are stuck to the ceiling, light coming through. One feels like an X-ray but is actually just a sepia see-through close up photograph of a person’s collarbone and arm.
Selena Gerzic’s , ‘i love my frends’ is a large whiteboard drawing of three people, their figurative space left blank while horizontal thick black marker pen strokes rush all around their edges. One of the most memorable works in Little Metonym is ‘permanent frown’ (2015) by Joanna Neumegen. Paper notes are put behind a patterned metal frame so you can’t get to them. It’s not a comfortable place for the notes. Dealing with notes and scraps of paper, or fragments of writing as the work itself is always difficult to reconcile with a form or a mode of presentation other than just ‘as they are’, but ‘permanent frown’ work somehow maintains their rawness (and sadness) and simultaneously gives them a body.
Hanging on Jaimee Stockman-Young untitled partition, Joanna Neumegen’s ‘Heartbreak Premonition’ (2015) again incorporates text, but in a decorative way. In navy-blue ink it writes around and frames the inner parts of a small board that is hung on the back of a large dividing structure. You only see that it is a string of words when you get close. Inside is something better seen and not written about.
About 20 copies of the accompanying ‘hapori volume II’ publication is printed and piled up like a fire on a glass table in the middle of the room. Inside are texts contributed by several writers such as Elle Loui August and Owen Connors. On the first page, a piece by Murphy reads: “You know what I mean by her angles, right? Traumas can be carried in by a cataclysm, but they can also come from some small shitty thing someone said once.” Sat in the centre of the room on the floor are a pair of very used ballet shoes by Ella Scott-Fleming, with bright pink colouration, we presume, around their fronts. They feel strange to look at as art works, made by someone, but then this a highly intimate show in an office after all. **
Exhibition photos, top right.