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Salon Rouge is an artwork that challenges boundaries. By combining performance, contemporary jewellery and the ideas around the authority of specific art spaces (both commercial and public), it light-heartedly asks some serious questions.
Many emerging artists face an insecure future in the time after graduation. They are at the mercy of gallery owners and curators, hoping to produce work that will be in the right place at the right time. I had the idea about creating my own gallery space inside a voluminous old 80's coat some years ago. I was invited to participate in Kete at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington in February 2014. As this event coincided with the International Festival of the Arts which was also sponsoring a Performance Art hub, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to try the concept out. I made a body of work to install on the lining of the coat. This was exhibited, hung on the gallery wall most of the time, but each day I would come and take the 'Salon Rouge on tour’ for a couple of hours. I approach people and ask if they would be interested in seeing the exhibition that is presently on show in my gallery space. The conversation usually results in them saying yes and at that point I open the gallery (in effect flashing) and there is confusion, amusement and then a great chance to talk about the work, and for them to closely examine the pieces. I do not sell work directly, but they are able to take one of my business cards for contacting me later. Although at times uncomfortable, I enjoy taking this hybrid and its story out on the street. Often contemporary art is hard for people to engage with – this subversive use of the ‘private viewing’ usually results in a stimulating conversation about jewellery and what it can be and people are left happy to have had this unexpected encounter.
I intend this work to be a long-term project and will continue to pursue opportunities to exhibit. I am keen for Salon Rouge to host shows of other peoples work and would be especially interested to show small works of contemporary art as well as jewellery.
Locations & Work
Kete, Academy of Fine Arts, Wellington, New Zealand. February 2014. Own work, part of the continuing series 'Whose Inheritance?'
Wunderruma, The Dowse, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. June 2014. Work from the Handshake 2 project participants.
Salon Rouge – des Refusee - an uninvited appearance at the opening of Wunderruma, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand. July 18th, 2015. Work from jewellers not chosen for Wunderruma.
Salon Rouge – des Refusee. Anna Miles Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand. June 2015. Work from jewellers not chosen for Wunderruma.
Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne, Australia. September 2015. Own work, part of the continuing series 'Whose Inheritance?'
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