Gavin Hipkins references a past that haunts the future


Set along the Brisbane River, the dual projections of The Precinct 2018 in ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9) continue Gavin Hipkins’s blurring of documentary and experimental narrative film structures. The double perspectives draw on and quote from the first published novel set in Brisbane, The Curse and its Cure (1894) by Dr Thomas Pennington Lucas, a two volume fiction which forecasts The Ruins of Brisbane in the Year 2000 and Brisbane Rebuilt in the Year 2200.

Lucas envisioned a ruined and corrupt city suffering floods, separatist wars with rival states and 19th century colonial treatment of Indigenous people having a rebirth as a utopian moral paradise. With its fragmentation of sounds and sights along the Brisbane River Hipkins’s The Precinct connotes a past that haunts the future.

Hipkins is a photographer and film maker based in Aotearoa New Zealand whose work addresses representation of place, particularly ideas of reimagined communities and social and political utopias in relation to Commonwealth countries.

Photographs, photo installations and moving image works strategically deploy various techniques and styles of image-making to interrogate how images create meaning. Over the last two decades, the artist’s work has been concerned with photography and architecture as modernist technologies, as well as the nation state — particularly in colonised countries in an era of reimagined communities and ideas of social and political utopia.

In 2010, Hipkins began making non-linear narrative films, which frequently reference nineteenth-century texts. These films adapt selected writings to contemporary settings that relate to both the past and to possible futures. His recent moving image works engage film as a cinematic art.

Gavin Hipkins, Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1968 / The Precinct 2018 / Two-channel HD video, 16:9, 10:40 minutes, colour, sound, ed. 1/3; Sound: Ben Sinclair / Purchased 2018. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Gavin Hipkins

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Free, and curated for audiences of all ages, ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9) profiles artworks by more than 80 artists, groups and projects from over 30 countries, and is presented across the Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) and the entire Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).

APT9 has been assisted by our Founding Supporter Queensland Government and Principal Partner the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Gavin Hipkins has been supported by Creative New Zealand.
Feature image detail: Gavin Hipkins The Precinct (still) 2018
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