Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Indigo ponies

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Opening of AaronLaurenceGallery - interiorIt's not every day that a new dealer gallery opens in Wellington, so when one does it's worth celebrating. As I mentioned last week, AaronLaurenceGallery had its formal opening on Saturday, and it was quite a do. The opening exhibition (The Ponie Show) has been a long time in the making, and most of the young(ish) artists had created works especially to suit the equine theme and accompanying essay (by Luke Badger). The large work on the right of the photo is Dan Campion's Night Becomes.

One of the unusual things about the gallery is the location: underground on Lambton Quay. Galleries up this end of town tend to deal with established artists and have prominent window displays. Once you get to the Willis and Cuba Quarters, galleries are more likely to be hidden upstairs (Peter McLeavey), within shops (Hamish McKay) or in side streets (Janne Land). But as far as I know, this is the only permanent gallery in Wellington that is underground.

Opening of AaronLaurenceGallery - exteriorThis location, in the bowels of the historic South British Insurance building, gives it a unique feeling. The labyrinth of low-ceilinged cells provides a variety of spaces, and there are enough industrial leftovers (pipes and fans) to avoid the stereotypical "white cube" effect. Mind you, cramming dozens of artists, bloggers, artist/bloggers, dealers and hangers-on into such a space on a humid night, especially when the paint fumes were still very fresh, was perhaps in contravention of numerous health and safety regulations. Never mind, there's always the street to spill out onto: always the sign of a raging success.

As predicted, many of us ended up at Indigo that night for the Cortina gig. It's fair to say that ironic 80s hair metal is not my favourite genre, but their performance antics make for quite an experience. The support acts were a mixed bag, too. Wearing a white tuxedo jacket and with his head wrapped in masking tape, The Mysterious Tapeman jumped on top of his amp and got the crowd dancing on the sofas with his twangy 60s surf-rock.

Disasteradio at IndigoBut it was Disasteradio that did it for me. Every time I thought I'd got my head around a tune or riff it was supplanted by another. It was as if someone had taken a bunch of old Kraftwerk and Depeche Mode albums, chucked them in a blender with some Gameboy soundtracks and broken effects pedals, then cranked the knob up to 11. There were tunes in there that veered between catchy, cheesy and scary, but they were swamped in unpredictable waves of digital and analogue distortion that assaulted the ears, twisted the brain and got the feet moving.

Suffice to say, I decided to take it easy on Sunday.


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