Unpacking My Library

Dan Arps, Xin Cheng, Bill Culbert, The Estate of L. Budd, Peter Madden, Daniel Malone, Elizabeth McAlpine, Neil Pardington, Ann Shelton. Curated by Stephen Cleland

13 February 2010 - 11 April 2010
Unpacking My Library considers the act of collecting. Utilising twentieth century media theorist Walter Benjamin's text of the same title as a point of departure, Unpacking My Library seeks out expanded approaches to collecting. Like Benjamin's text, the exhibition takes interest in the process of collecting, as much as the content of a collection. Reflecting on his own library, Benjamin draws upon his obsession with collecting books in order to unpack the psychological drives of the collector. He argues that in a detailed collection certain traits of the collector will be revealed. His invitation into his unpacked library is an invitation to enter a collector's mind - to dwell upon what the order and disorder of collections reveals about their gatherers.

The exhibition presents both artists who actively explore collecting as a daily practice and artists who reflect on pre-existing systems of collating and organising objects. Firmly rooted in this former investigation is London based artist Elizabeth McAlpine who's ongoing project Found Time: Big Ben attempts to represent every minute of a twelve hour period through existing postcards of Big Ben. Works that analyse pre-existing collections include Ann Shelton's studies of the Fredrick Butler Archive, Neil Pardington's analysis of public art gallery collections and The Estate of L. Budd as a self-reflective archive, which appropriates the language and the rhetoric of institutional models. For the first time the entire contents of The Estate of L. Budd will be housed in a single gallery which will become a storeroom for a collection still approaching completion.

Image Credit:
Neil Pardington, Art Store #1, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa,
2006, LED / C-Print. Courtesy of Nadine Milne Gallery, Queenstown