Public/Private Interventions

January 30, 2007


Filed under: Interventions, Media file, Ruminator's Digest — mastermistress @ 1:07 pm

toilet-final-cover-email-version.jpgFor those unable to read the text, see below the image – this article was published about my work in The Leader on December 21 2006.

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Visitors to the Suter’s latest exhibition, Reasons for Being, are being confronted by the unexpected sight of a toilet in a corner of the gallery.
The installation, Ingestion, Assimilation and Elimination, by Paula Cunniffe, is a toilet scene complete with a loo, paper, cleaning products and a model of the Venus, the goddess of love.
Visitors are invited to sit on the toilet and read a mock Reader’s Digest made by Cunniffe called Ruminator’s Digest. The journal features a photo of Cunniffe on the cover as a toddler and is full of stories, thoughts and images relating to her life, including photos of her faeces in a toilet.
“It was so hard to put pictures of poos in there. It was against the grain,” she says.
Cunniffe says the installation is about identity.
It’s about knowing yourself, inside and out. My aim is hopefully people will be able to identify with things in there about childhood and make sense of who they are,” she says.
Cunniffe says some people are wary of the artwork which is made with items borrowed from the Nelson Recycling Centre.
‘People are a bit shy but that says a lot about their own beliefs, doesn’t it? About what you believe is art and what is not art and what is acceptable in a gallery,’ she says.
So what does Cunniffe want people to get out of the installation?
“I want them to experience that feeling of risk when they do something outside of their comfort zone. It’s like stepping into another zone and it’s not commercial art, it’s designed to make you think,” she says.
Cunniffe says her first education came from reading Reader’s Digest on the loo.
“I’ve read just about every single edition since 1969.” She says.
She says what people do in the toilet and what they admit to doing are often two different things.
“I drink coffee in the toilet,” she says.
“I bet lots of people pick their nose.”
She says her father is not a fan of Ingestion, Assimilation and Elimination.
“he is absolutely horrified that I could do something like this. He thinks all artists are nuts,” she says.
Co-ordinated by Nelson artist Nic Foster, Reasons for Being features artworks in many different media including light works, sculpture, photography, video and painting. Alongside Cunniffe’s installation, it includes work by Andy Clover, Dominique de Borrekens, Fleur Deighton, Cindy Flook, Nicky Gilkison, Natalie Jones, Anna Leary, Lou-Darcie Lewis, Charlotte Lipp, Jennifer Murphy, Bridget Sanders, Mieke Scoggins and Katherine Wilkin-Slaney.

The artists have all graduated from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Bachelor of Visual Arts programme since is started in 2002. Foster says there are many talented artists in this region who are producing challenging and highly conceptual work.

‘Reasons for Being was a philosophical starting point that the artists were asked to respond to in any media. The work they have produced bodes well for the future development of contemporary art and artists in the Nelson region he says.
The exhibition runs until February 18.

See Letters to the Editor in response to this article:

George Barker, Laurie Neilson, Lyn Guyton, Paula Cunniffe and Andy Clover all of Nelson

1 Comment »

  1. I have a wonderful work of Art by Charlotte Lipp. Can you help me get more information about her and her work.

    Comment by Susan Grainger — May 18, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

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