Susan Te Kahurangi King: Paperdwellers
Emerging from a selection of work by Susan Te Kahurangi King from 1967 to 1980, Paperdwellers proposes the convergence of exhibition and personal practice. Prompted by King’s work, Paperdwellers advocates for drawing as a self-forming and world-building technology. Within King’s work, the relationship between figure and ground is often porous; inside and outside perform dual roles. Boundaries between bodies, scapes, and objects are depicted in an act of eternal collapse: fingers into what they hold; limbs into negative spaces, blooming into open topographies. Informed by this relationship, Paperdwellers evolves from an understanding that there is no distinction between self and ecology. This logic operates across multiple scales within the exhibition.
As an open proposition, Paperdwellers has the capacity to account for its viewers, their images, and their words. Viewers are invited into this space as collaborators, with a programme of public workshops, and spaces for these outcomes to become permanent fixtures. Integrated working spaces allow the viewer to become a student of King’s artwork: a mutually informing exchange, via drawing or writing.
Just as King’s works from this period toy with impulses of human nature and movement, the exhibition's structural interventions challenge the function of the gallery space. The outside world is drawn into the institutional space, animating it with semblances of the private. This utilitarian environment, by exhibition designer Anto Yeldezian, proposes a democratic relationship between viewer and work. Taking cue from King’s imagery, Paperdwellers experiments with malleable and plastic natures, reimagining ourselves as writable, drawable, and erasable. It offers a domain for the act of making and thinking as modes that shape both the world and the self.
Born in 1951, Te Aroha, Susan Te Kahurangi King is a Pākehā artist currently living in Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand. King has works in a number of national and international collections, including, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York, the Chartwell Collection (Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tāmaki) and the Wallace Arts Trust, New Zealand.