• Hugo Primbs

This project is a temporary, site-specific painting installation that revisits and reflects on the turbulent time capsule of the country’s Covid-19 response in the precursory months to the nation’s eventual adoption of the ‘traffic light’ system.

Employed as an essential worker during the last lockdown to date, in the Spring of 2021, the artist would catch the orange Outer Link bus home from the Alfred Street bus stop.Waiting alone, between Window Gallery and Shadows Bar, became something of a daily ritual. For five to six minutes a day lilac Beam E-scooters, wine barrel garden beds and a technicoloured serpent of plastic benches accompanied him in an eerily unpopulated city.

Exactly two years later, the artist documents the icons of a previous daily commute. Utilising the opportunity to explore hinterglas painting on a larger scale, he recalls and represents their performance with humorously absurd vitality against the backdrop of an uncanny absence of human life.

Hugo Primbs is a German-born New Zealand artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. His practice explores how the medium of painting can function as a stage for encountered objects of the mundane. His work swings between dealing with ideas of liminality, uncanniness, and the absurdity of the ‘double’, to more ‘painterly’ concerns of colour perception, performative mark making, and compositional framing. He completed his Master of Visual Arts at Auckland University of Technology in June 2021.

Opening Hours

  • Viewable during General Library Hours:
  • Monday to Thursday 8am-10pm
  • Friday 8am-8pm
  • Saturday and Sunday 9am-8pm


  • 5 Alfred St
  • General Library Foyer
  • University of Auckland
  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland