• Sophia Smolenski;
  • With Vanessa Arthur, Simon Attwooll, Caitlin Devoy, Karl Fritsch, Jon Geehan, Catherine Griffiths, Turumeke Harrington, Emily Hartley-Skudder, Jay Hutchinson, Ana Iti, Sam Kelly, Jennifer Laracy, Dave Marshall, Dane Mitchell, Laurie Steer, Moniek Schrijer, Kereama Taepa, Jasmine Te Hira, Tjalling de Vries, Lisa Walker, John Ward Knox, Chloe Rose Taylor
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  • Wendy Bornholdt
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  • Cora-Allan, Curated by Curator, Collections Sophie Thorn

Back of House is a suite of exhibitions and projects that draw on and reveal what normally lies behind the scenes in the public display of art. Back of House consists of three discrete projects: Sophia Smolenski: Offering It Up; Wendy Bornholdt: Studioland; and Aro Toi/Art Collection in Focus: A Gift, A Celebration, An Invitation. These are accompanied by a “live” archiving project and a curated public programme. Back of House turns the tables on the usual workings of the art gallery to blur distinctions between artists and technicians; makers and thinkers; display items and the tools, props, and packaging supporting them; and the art works and the paperwork that surrounds them. The exhibition is an opportunity to reveal and talk about working processes and conditions.

In Offering It Up, Sophia Smolenski uses her day job as a mount-maker and exhibition preparator as the starting point for an ambitious multi-part installation that features works by 22 contemporary New Zealand artists she has invited to make items in response to mounts she first constructed for objects in her personal possession.

Wendy Bornholdt’s Studioland is a new gathering of her photographic prints that have emerged over the last decade in response to her sorting and archiving of drawings amassed over her career and stored in her studio. She re-imagines the activities of cataloguing, organising, and storing art works as new ground for making art and the occasion for meditating on the workings of memory.

Aro Toi/Art Collection in Focus: A Gift, A Celebration, An Invitation, curated by Sophie Thorn, Curator Collections, profiles three new works by Cora-Allan recently acquired for Ngā Puhipuhi o Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection, to explore the techniques and materials associated with making Niuean hiapo (barkcloth made from the mulberry tree). Placed alongside these works is a large ngatu, a decorated Tongan barkcloth gifted to Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington by the University of the South Pacific in 1999. This will serve as the starting point for a creative response from New Zealand-born Tongan artist, ‘Uhila Moe Langi Nai that will unfold as part of the Gallery’s future programme.

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday - Sunday
  • 11am - 5pm


  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
  • Wellington 6012