This is something I sent to Geneva at the Pierre Peeters Gallery (formely Aesthete gallery).
It’s called found object art but the late great Peter Sauerbier, 1927-2006, took it much further than that and the appellation is found wanting when regarding the vast trove of art he left to Waitakere City on his passing. That, though, is the position of any good artist. To defy that which tries to bind or hold and Peter did this throughout his life to the extent that he left us all behind and was out there in a place beyond definition even before he left us.
The found object style is an anomoly in the art world of today and it draws people from the fringes of the art world, people who often have many irons in many fires, and they work in the field not usually to have galleries run their shows, though this is always a bonus, but from a deep seated need to comment on the way of the world without the makers being the centre of attention. More so than most art the messages inherent are many layered and are often so subtle that the taught ways of looking at art fail to penetrate.
Peters story is mostly untold but if one was lucky enough to visit his house while he was with us and get the tour then it was apparent that this man is and was important as the walls of his tiny house abounded with early artworks of artists who eventually took the grand stage and they were mixed with his own unsold artworks which always glowed so much brighter.
So the man has left us but his story is yet to be told as the estate waits for the necessary funds to ensure his works are seen in a way that befits his endevours… but how do we convince the policy makers when all the normal ways of defining regard were unmet. Yes he sold some works for big prices and yes he won a few competitions but often while the children were staring in concentration with wonderment filling their faces as they they gazed longingly at his works… the adults didn’t have the cues they required and he was passed over for works that looked alike the pages in overseas magazines.
Four artists in the middle of their lives haven’t forgotten Peter and of the four three knew him well and were making art in the same vein while he was alive. They too are anomolies who find themselves misunderstood but they learned from Peter and it fazes them not as they find new ways of expanding the way this art finds the world.
Andrew Hall has the most beautiful garage in existance and from this garage issues works that twists our senses as we grapple with our sense to misbelieve what we see. We do know the objects he places together but his skill is so great that we forget the individual parts and see only the sum transformed. He is the alchemist of trash.
Kieran Donnely has left the city and builds houses from a wonderland of his own devising out in the bush. But he also tattoo’s the faithful and is out of this land often as his skills are applauded and required beyond these shores. But he still finds time to construct the objects that ask us whether our new god of consumerism is a god worth praying to. They look to be whimsical objects that hearken back to the flamboyance of art noveau but underlying the charm is a well considered opinion, and raft of questions, that if we continue on our quest for instant gratification we may well be missing something very important.
Felix Delux never knew Peter Sauerbier, he was off playing in bands at the time, but he had a welding set and spare time to indulge himself in discovering the joys of disgarded metals. Years have passed and Felix lives now in Raglan and is very keen visitor of the wonderful Town dump they have there. He makes things for his music making projects which are joys to behold but he also has fun with light.
Sean Kerrigan lives in a backyard in suburbia where he strives to do whatever he wishes whether that be building steel furniture or experimental musical instruments or his reenactment of a set of hovels. For this exhibition he has rediscovered his boxes of found objects and is constructing furniture for a post apocalyptic age.
What these artists share more resolutely with Peter more than any other talent is the ability to make their own world and exist in those worlds with the minimum of interference with the world at large. They know intuitively that what they do is at odds with the general lay of the land economically so they have created their own worlds and a great part of their success lies in the simple fact that they able to create and live in places filled with art… without needing the success of the art world to justify their existence.
So come and enjoy an exhibition that requires you only bring curiousity. A rare glimpse into a world in which No8 wire, may not be used but, stands resolute as the backbone of a culture that still lives despite the ferocity of globalisation.
Excuse me but I really am enamored with an idea these days that is about being successfully unsuccessful. What this means is that the artist is able to keep making art without being attached to the need to sell it. Selling it is merely a bonus and the act of making more of it is not completely dependant on selling it.
Why? simply because it’s more of a challenge. The questions of why go deeper and the resistance against which one works is greater. This has got to be better for the artist… but I’m not talking about working against a spiritual vacuum that sucks the life from work and makes the artist depressed and anti social… the opposite in fact. I’m not going to explain it further… thats your job to figure out whether what I’m saying has any relevance. I only ever have to convince myself.