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Collaborative Reddaway / Takle / Urbahn Installation

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Installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Terry Urbahn Installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Terry Urbahn Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway Detailed installation view of Richard Reddaway/Grant Takle/Terry Urbahn's New Cuts Old Music installation at Te Uru, top floor. Photo: Richard Reddaway

However, while this is a collaborative project, it is difficult to confidently divide the space or elements into specific ‘artist zones'. Participation in this show is particularly diffuse and mingled, especially for somebody like Urbahn who is known for remixed sound and video works (the former clearly present), and wall constructions, or Reddaway who has often used sound in his speaker-laden sculptures.

Titirangi

 


Richard Reddaway, Grant Takle and Terry Urbahn
New Cuts Old Music

 


23 March - 26 May 2024

Richard Reddaway, Grant Takle and Terry Urbahn are three artists who became friends as students at Ilam Art School at Canterbury University in the early eighties. They have since pursued separate careers as sculptor/teacher, painter/sculptor and musician/sculptor/video-sound artist, but in September 2022 they got together for a collaborative project, Band of Three, at Unitec in Auckland.

Up on Te Uru’s top floor, they now have a new presentation, New Cuts Old Music, that uses three spaces, straddling the landing at the top of the inside stairs between two galleries. It is very different from the previous show in that it has no freestanding feral sculpture from Reddaway, and Takle has no ornamentally painted vinyl discs presented as a grid on a wall. Instead, the traversing installation showcases the unusual architectural features of the brilliant six levelled Te Uru building as designed by Julie Stout and David Mitchell, by using Takle’s cut up vinyl discs to snake along the edge of the unique glass-fenced corridor floor that joins the two viewing spaces.

Reddaway‘s presence in this show seems to be mainly the staccato presence of black circular speakers dotted along the walls, and tumbling Rauschenberg-like cardboard sheets on the walls and floor that are sporadically loaded with roughly painted silver or black rectangles.

However, while this is a collaborative project, it is difficult to confidently divide the space or elements into specific ‘artist zones’. Participation in this show is particularly diffuse and mingled, especially for somebody like Urbahn who is known for remixed sound and video works (the former clearly present), and wall constructions, or Reddaway who has often used sound in his speaker-laden sculptures.

Another room, apocalyptic and cubo-futuristic in mood, presents a stack of boxes piled high to resemble a towering skyscraper, and seems a homage to Fritz Lang’s 1927 film, Metropolis. It extends out on its sides taped-on stencils (of flaming words, socially harmful objects, or noxious insects) initially used by Grant Takle in his earlier paintings, so strategically positioned red lights can project their sinister and enigmatic shadows on the walls.

Takle’s joined-up sequence of cut up vinyl discs (cut into quarters, halves and three-quarters) positioned on the floor and walls, opens the unusual possibility of creating poetry like that of John Cage or Jackson Mac Low, using chance operations so that textual fragments on mutilated labels can in the viewer’s mind, be read to flow into one unifying text—in the tradition of found-text-focussed Language Poetry. Terry Urbahn‘s sound collages (using recordings featured by Takle) therefore become an auditory parallel to these, incorporating into another type of sequence—using text-aligned snippets of opera, country, rockabilly, ballads, pub drinking songs and even vocal accompaniment from barking dogs.

Takle, using radial slits cut into black music LPs and clear programming/software CDs, has also contributed freestanding sculptures made by slotting the flat circles together (in the manner of say, partitioned corrugated cardboard packaging for bottles of wine) so vaguely animal-like forms are constructed rising up from the floor. The smaller CD sculptures emphasise the bright colour of the circular labels and so are quite optically strident with their spatially suspended, chromatically centred discs. The larger ones with vinyl records tonally dominate the space.

Overall visually in this formally inventive and subtly textual installation, there is a nice tension between the clean-edged, lightly pulsing linear rhythms of the black undulating Takle contributions and the dark raw blurry planar swathes from Reddaway, placed on the buckled partially-silvered card to hover over Te Uru’s visitor-friendly, expansive flat architectural planes as restless, muscular, impatiently-brooding rectangles.

With its witty title, this is a richly entertaining but also clearly thoughtful exhibition.  And oddly, even though it is obviously a collaboration, Takle is the dominant presence. Urbahn’s presence is aurally understated and Reddaway is seemingly laid back too. With no freestanding sculptures except for the group—constructed tower of boxes, he seems happy to create supporting plane-hugging surfaces for Takle’s ubiquitous stencils of burning coffins, crosses, bottled ships, fingers and words like ‘planes’, ‘echo’, ‘provenance’ and ‘dust’, appearing unusually passive—avoiding competitiveness; while Urbahn’s chopped up and spread out ‘golden oldie’ pop songs present an ironic unobtrusive sporadic foil to the fiery urban architectural catastrophie unfolding in plain sight.

John Hurrell

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