• Matthew Galloway
  • Doris Lusk
  • Raúl Ortega Ayala

Infrastructure brings together three discrete exhibitions tracing moments from the 1980s: Matthew Galloway examining the socio-political climate surrounding the Clyde Dam, a legacy of Robert Muldoon’s ‘Think Big’ initiative; Doris Lusk’s Imagined Projects series painted in 1983/4 depicting fictional industrial sites in the landscape; and Raúl Ortega Ayala’s documentation of the exclusion zone around Chernobyl—a landscape rendered uninhabitable by the nuclear power plant disaster of 1986—and the impact of this on its former residents.

These exhibitions all focus on power: both in the sense of the physical creation of energy and the political thrust behind large infrastructural projects. They consider the landscape and how environmental conditions are altered through these extractive processes. They think about the people, both the key political players who make decisions and those whose lives are irrevocably changed through their actions. Brought together in this way these exhibitions call attention to how we might imagine our futures by thinking about the recent past.

Matthew Galloway: The Power that Flows Through Us Level 3 Window Gallery & Congreve Foyer Level 2 The Landing Level 1 Stairway Gallery & Lower Chartwell Gallery

The Power that Flows Through Us explores the construction and political context around the Clyde Dam, Aotearoa’s third-largest hydroelectric plant, a legacy of Robert Muldoon’s ‘Think Big’ initiative. Playing off the architecture of the gallery to help us reflect on the monumental physicality of the dam, Galloway uses poetry as sonic interventions, large-scale projections of drone footage and archival political cartoons blown up into sculptural form, to locate us within the narratives and perspectives swirling around the Clyde Dam since its inception. The exhibition invites us to consider not only the physical generation of electrical power but also the distribution and implementation of political power.

Matthew Galloway's research-based practice uses the tools and methodologies of design, repurposed for a gallery context and emphasising design and publishing as an inherently political exercise. His work investigates issues of identity, sense of place and the political implications of both, proposing open-ended research questions through his practice. He holds an MFA from Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (2012) and currently lives and works in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Galloway is currently a doctoral candidate at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau.

Doris Lusk: Imagined Projects: Forty Years On Level 3 Upper Chartwell Gallery

Doris Lusk’s Imagined Projects & Imagined Views (1983/4) is one of the artist’s last major series. It is a culmination of six decades of Lusk’s practice and thinking around landscape in Aotearoa. This exhibition focuses specifically on the Imagined Projects works, gathering five of the seven paintings together for the first time in forty years. The paintings depict delicately coloured opaque washes of imagined industrial sites inserted into fictional earthy landscapes. The architectural sites in these paintings do not sit in harmony with nature but are juxtaposed with it. They illustrate the tensions at play when large extractive infrastructural interventions are made in the landscape.

Doris Lusk (1916-1990) was born in Ōtepoti Dunedin and studied at King Edward Technical College in Ōtepoti from 1934-1939. She is known for her landscapes and their idiosyncratic inclusion of industrial structures, a subversion of the naturalistic genre that speaks to the complexity of personal responses to the environment. She exhibited with modernist art association The Group regularly from the early 1940s till 1977 and taught at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts from 1966 to 1981. Her work is held in major public art collections around Aotearoa. Substantial exhibitions of her work have been held at Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 1966 and 2016; the Dowse Art Museum, 1973; Auckland City Art Gallery, 1979; and Christchurch Art Gallery, 1996 and 2016.

Raúl Ortega Ayala: The Zone Kirk Gallery

Raúl Ortega Ayala’s The Zone (2013-2020) documents the legacy of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident through video, photographs and firsthand accounts of former residents of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Shot over four years, the work speaks to the repercussions of failed technological development at a monumental scale—exploring the ongoing impact on the lives of those affected, the visual impact of an abandoned city given over to nature and decay, and the lingering paraphernalia of an expired political system.

Raúl Ortega Ayala was born in Mexico City in 1973, where he studied painting at La Esmerelda, before completing an MFA at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland in combination with Hunter College in New York in 2003. His practice is comprised of periods of sustained immersion into different contexts, during which he employs anthropological methods (such as participant observation, fieldwork and embodiment of knowledge) as artistic practice. He is currently Associate Professor at Whiti o Rehua School of Art at Massey University Te Kunenga ki Purehuroa in Te Whanganui a Tara Wellington.

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday - Sunday
  • 11am - 5pm


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