John Hurrell – 12 December, 2023
Placed on the concrete block wall at the side of the road, these triple zigzagging textual linear configurations that suddenly change direction, seem to wittily comment on the words' interpretative change of direction and what the writer might be getting at. The angular vectorial shifts might indicate mental agility, particularly when discussing ‘experimentation'—here a bafflingly vague and mysterious term that could mean anything.
Curated by Felixe Laing
12 November 2023 - 28 January 2024
The partial utopian text that Ardit Hoxha uses in his Te Tuhi billboards project comes from William Lewis Robertson, a campaigner in the 1940s for consumer co-opts, a visionary whose radical and pioneering proposals were rejected by the first Labour Government.
Read on Reeves Road as strange descending diagonal lines of words, their political meaning changes because of their recontextualisation. Passing car drivers will have no idea who wrote them, and if they happen to know that these hoardings were instigated by the local nearby gallery, then they might assume that the artist whose name is on the wall devised them, and that perhaps art history, artmaking and art rationales are being discussed. Maybe as part of a manifesto. Which of course it is. Though not originally art-focussed.
Placed on the concrete block wall at the side of the road, these triple zigzagging textual linear configurations that suddenly change direction, seem to wittily comment on the words’ interpretative change of direction and what the writer might be getting at. The angular vectorial shifts might indicate mental agility, particularly when discussing ‘experimentation’—here a bafflingly vague and mysterious term that could mean anything.
Hoxha has deliberately placed Robertson’s words in the heart of the rebuilt Pakuranga Plaza, seemingly in a fuck-you gesture that repudiates the ethos of private capital, but apart from some readers of Te Tuhi publications, who would care? Certainly not local motorists, travelling to and from work.
Apart from perhaps Eugen Gomringer and Concrete Poetry, the tilted lines of readable letter groups, in short sections, might also allude to cut stock market ticker tape or snipped up telegrams. Or even non-textual party games like Pick Up Sticks.
And in a sense it is a game, for the three hoardings line up to become one continuous text sliced into three separated sections on Reeves Rd, and then three more in Parnell. Opposite the Te Tuhi front entrance, the aligned but chopped up phrases tumble down on the left, traverse across the centre and then steeply ascend upward on the right. The meaning of this uncompleted sentence would be impossible for any motorist or motor-cyclist to absorb in one drive past, even if they were moving very slowly and it were structurally complete.
A visit to the much quieter Parnell Station site (away from the main road and behind a large carpark) for the second half, gives you another partial clause, so that the two sites of loosely stacked snippets—when linked—create a disjointed collective whole. While its motivation is ambiguous and baffling (except for readers of Hoxha’s published artist’s statement), the work’s multiple interpretative poetic possibilities, appropriately zigzagging and seesawing vectors, and trailing ellipses, make it compelling and intriguing viewing.