Elam International Artist in Residence begins Memorial Project

23 June 2015
Artist Kathy Temin assisted by Elam student Joseph Durana with the work for her upcoming exhibition

Elam staff and students will help make, assemble and install large-scale sculptural artworks, planned for an exhibition by renowned Australian artist Kathy Temin at the Gus Fisher Gallery.

The celebrated artist, best known for her garden-like installations made from synthetic fur which explore ideas about art history, memory and loss, has arrived in the country to take up the position of Elam International Artist in Residence at the University of Auckland.

While here, Temin will be assisted by both the technical staff in the workshop and by a group of students from Elam School of Fine Arts, and mentor them during this process.

The exhibition The Memorial Project will occupy the entire space at the Gus Fisher Gallery. It will build on Temin’s recent work referencing monuments and memorials as psychological spaces, where private and collective memory coincide. She employs the unconventional material of synthetic fur to combine the oppositional dialogue of remembrance with play; minimalism with sentimentality. The artwork will be site specific, ambitious in scale and divided into three separate spaces of remembrance, combining design, sound and sculptural interventions.

The child of a Hungarian born holocaust survivor – Temin’s father was interned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. My Memorial: Oral Histories: Budapest, The Buchenwald Boys and Poland, 2004-2015 combines documentary and factual information with personal history taken from filming memorial events and interviews the artist has participated in. She will create a sculptural space of reflection with the historical practice of memorialisation, to recall people, places and events from the past, to preserve history and memory and to highlight the courage, optimism and hope of these stories.

While resident in New Zealand, Temin will make the structures for the work and assemble them and undertake research for the show which includes interviewing holocaust survivors who migrated here.

“We are currently making the bases for the structure of the memorial wall, which entails drilling thousands of holes to begin the Chesterfield process, covering the panels with foam then with fur. We are filling trees with stuffing. Usually a project of this scale would take six months to a year to make but the planning and some of the sewing has been done in Australia, which has enabled me to do the second part of the production in Auckland,” says Temin.

“Ten amazing students have helped combined with the assistance of Paul, Nick, Peter and the other technicians in the Elam workshop, and have been fantastic to work with,” she says.

Kathy Temin, who is an Associate Professor and Coordinates the MFA programme at MADA, Monash University in Melbourne, exhibits globally, both in solo and group shows. She has previously been in residence at the PS1 Contemporary Art Centre in New York, and was the first artist in residence at the Govett Brestwer Art Gallery, New Plymouth during 1994.

During her residency she will also participate in the International Award for Public Art Conference on 4 July at 10.30am with a talk on The Holocaust Memorial and contemporary artistic practices.

Established in 1998, the Elam International Artist in Residence Programme brings talented artists from all over the world, and provides opportunities for learning about contemporary practice to Elam students as well as the wider creative community. The Elam International Artist in Residence Programme is generously  supported by Dame Jenny Gibbs.

The 2015 International Award for Public Art Exhibition and Conference
Conference: The University of Auckland
1-4 July 2015

My Memorial: Black Wall and Oral Histories
Kathy Temin
Gus Fisher Gallery
74 Shortland Street
Auckland Central
9-24 October 2015
Email gusfishergallery@auckland.ac.nz

Media queries to m.playfair@auckland.ac.nz