• Charlotte Posenenske
  • Peter Robinson

The work of seminal German artist Charlotte Posenenske and leading Aotearoa practitioner Peter Robinson establish grammars of expression by testing out systems of assembly, seriality, and repetition. To that end they push at the intrinsic nature of space and its undeniably social potential, in that to produce space is to conjure a body in relation. In this process they ask fundamental questions of us as an audience: what are the rules of engagement here? How do we relate to one another? Do we want to participate in this? What happens next?

Expanding on this, both artists have necessarily wrestled with the legitimacy of art and the artworld as a territory where change can happen. In late 1968, following rapid and significant success in Germany, Posenenske began her withdrawal from the artworld to study the sociology of labour and work with unions while Robinson continues to work with the potentials found in productive doubt. Their strident investigations into the edge of art’s ability to produce relationships of action sit at the centre of this exhibition which hones in on core strategies in the work of both artists: the minimum signal required to communicate, the pushing at the limits of material, and the impulse to escape the existing parameters.

Spanning sculpture, painting, film, and archival documentation, in this exhibition we encounter an arc of contemporary sculptural practice that calls up its very emergence as a Western construct in mid 20th-century Europe to our present-day Aotearoa.

This arc opens a line of exchange between two contexts essentially defined by tumult. Consider the radical uprisings of 1968 and the destabilisation of international world order that produced them. Consider the increasing precarious access to and protection of resources, natural or otherwise, experienced today. It can be said that both artists pull open the fundamental mechanisms that make the artworld part of the world per se.

In this artworld-in-the-world we are invited to consider our bodies in relation to edges, where one thing ends and another begins. This activates the spatio-political quality of time with both artists tapping into this ambiguity: time as a monetizable measure, as an expressive singularity, as a language. Prior to engaging with visual art Posenenske trained in stage design and dramaturgy. This origin presents an interesting lens to review her decision to leave the artworld, while Robinson’s knotted grids require both positive and negative forces to stay together. Timing and tension can be everything: what is the best way to express the creative and political potential of the imagination? What is the best way to connect? For Posenenske the impulse to explore the potential of the imagination opened a door to another field, for Robinson it is an ongoing commitment to arts education and the exploration of the fundamental structures found in our world: the koru, the grid, the tear. This exhibition dives into form: waka, or tongues, or chimneys, or motorways, as well as the labour that it takes to produce all of this—our world in which we live together.

This exhibition is proudly presented in association with Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Arts Festival and City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, where it travels to in June.

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday - Friday, 10am-6pm
  • Saturday, 11am-4pm


  • Ground Floor, 296 Karangahape Road
  • Newtown, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland