Using the Chartwell Collection as a source, Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own is a response to our relationship to life at home – one that has been significantly impacted for many, if not all, of us during the global pandemic. Artists are no different, and this exhibition looks at how they have responded to the materials of home.
A broad range of artistic perspectives is taken into consideration, from those that adopt abstract scaffolding structures in their work to those for whom sculptural walls, domestic furniture and furnishings act as artistic materials. Often concerned with the psychology of interior space and the outdoors, the works in the exhibition include two commissioned new artworks that speak to the home within real estate and the home as a site for art.
The Chartwell Collection was initiated in 1974 at a time in which the social and domestic attitudes of the post-war period were rapidly changing. New Zealand artists were also making large-scale use of second-hand marketplaces and recycled domestic wares for artistic practice and inspiration. Since then, attitudes to the home have steadily changed. However, none of these changes have been so visible as now: a broad-scale housing crisis coupled with the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns prompted by COVID.
At the time, many called for renewed creativity in the home during a radical coupling of home and work life. In contrast, Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own focuses on how artists have viewed the home, giving greater context to the relationship between art and home-life. Walls to Live Beside, Rooms to Own is supported by the Chartwell Trust.