Archives for category: Exhibition


Oops, I am a bit behind with the storyline here on the blog. When I wanted to post last night, we had a power cut and it didn’t come back until sometime in the middle of the night.

So Deutsch Fraulein did indeed make her cinnamon short bread. But Rob D Light wasn’t impressed, he doesn’t feel like short bread, instead he lamented: “I need no Christmas cake. I need a house and a job.”

“I’ll build you one” offered L’Artiste in the spirit of Christmas and grabbed a few pieces of short bread. At first Rob was terribly excited that someone would care so much about him, to actually help him. But then when he saw the result he said disappointedly “very artistic.” We all know what that means, don’t we?

Yesterday, the Dedes decided they have to do a bit more for a proper Christmas mood and they dug out their rendition of “Twelve Days of Christmas” they did last year as their first project on Instagram. The performance is strictly for tone deaf people only.


And sure enough, Cash Cow, who is really stressed out with the Christmas season was driven bonkers by the singing. She looked everywhere for ear plugs, but all she could find where these two birds, with good sized beaks. They, on the other hand, weren’t too happy to help, really! But what can you do when Cash Cow is strangling you?




Pig and Professor love the arts and I had to promise them long time ago that I will take them to the gallery as soon as possible so they can have a look at all the wonderful works. In the next two weeks all the participating artists are taking turns in manning the gallery and it was my turn last Monday. I will be there tomorrow and next Wednesday again, but Pig and Professor didn’t want to wait any longer. So here I can show you their first impressions. There is more good work on display in the gallery, so if you are in Auckland and in the neighbourhood of Mt Eden swing by and judge for yourself.  You enter through a narrow door and go down a flight of stairs.  The gallery is on two floors below street level.

When the two Dedes came down the stairs, Pig stopped in his tracks and turned in awe to Professor “This space is amazing” he whispered “We should have volunterred to take part in the installation.”  The images you see in the background here are by Sonja Gardien. It is a photographic series reminding us of the impact of climate change.


Opposite Sonja’s image are Stacey Simpkin’s photographs of some of the old baches (holiday homes) on Rangitoto Island, a very well-known volcano located just outside the Auckland harbour entrance with a wonderful checkered history.


Here Pig and Professor move towards Dorina Jotti’s amazing Photograph “Cross-Referenced”. This snapshot doesn’t do the image justice at all, as the blues look too light and washed out. In reality it is of a rich and dark colour, which is very difficult to reproduce with simple devices. The photograph was craftily printed on a ten-colour printer.

At the top right you see a display by contemporary jeweler Sarah Walker-Holt. Once again, the snapshot doesn’t do the work justice. Art is best viewed in original.  :)


Another fantastic work by Dorina Jotti. This is a zen meditation exercise, an enso, which is a circle drawn in one uninhibited brushstroke to express the moment when the mind is ready to let the body express.


The wonderful series “Brotherhood” was created by Kirsten Weir and depicts members of the Hell’s Angels in their headquarters. Pig didn’t want to get any closer, as he knows that Kirsten has to seek approval each time she wants to exhibit the images and Pig doesn’t want to get her into trouble. But you can believe us, these images are striking.


The deer is another one of Carly van Winkel’s photographs. Her series is about animals that are raised purely to be released in front of hunters to be shot. Sad!

Carly is an excellent photographer and you might remember that she took the images at the launch of “The Artist’s Survival Cookbook”. If you want to learn more about how to take breathtaking photographs… Carly and I are running an “Intro to Photography” workshop at Studio 541 in Auckland on 4th June. She also does tell some hilareous story’s about the capture of her hunting photos.


On the bottom floor you will find a series by Alice Ng showing dilapidated buildings in the Auckland area. There is a special aesthetic in such images, isn’t there?


And then of course there are the Dedes with their mobile phones. Professor and Pig were so excited when they finally discovered their mates in the last room (they requested to be placed as far away from the entrance as possible) so they can do some work. Even now, they hardly looked up. That was a bit of a disappointment for the visitors.


This was just a quick walk around the gallery. There is more work by Vicky te Puni, Julia Glover, Toni Mosley, Yvonne Shaw, Trish Campbell, Melanie Tollemache and Jessie Rolston  It’s worth the trip.






The last few weeks were pretty hectic with preparations for the exhbition opening. The whole affair was organised in a timeframe of only 3 weeks, as it had to fit in with the opening of the law firm that is in the same building. It was amazing how well organised the 14 exhibiting artists were. All of them are highly professional and it was a pleasure to be involved in putting the biographies, statements and the descriptions of the work together. We also managed to get flyers for the first three workshops ready in time.

It is not that easy for the Dedes to leave their friends behind, so I promised the ones that went and sat in the Gallery a new mobile phone. In the end I took four Dedes, but as Alien has his own antennaes he didn’t need to be bribed with a new device. Before we even left the house the others got into their new toys straight away and they haven’t looked up since. Because of this, Alien quickly got annoyed with his mates and in the end he wandered off to make friends with the goat my friend Carly has put in the exhibition. The goat looked at Alien but wasn’t the least bit interested in his advances. He was very well aware that he is king of the show and admired by all the visitors.


If you are in Auckland, the show is in the brand new space of Studio 541, at 541 Mount Eden Road. The gallery is open from 11am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday.  Check out the space, it is truely amazing. We have three teaser workshops organised. If you are interested in how to non-destructively work in Photoshop with layers and masks, join me on the 14th of May from 9am to 3pm. I will be running the workshop, assisted by Carly van Winkel and it is a real steal at $80 for the day.

On the 4th of June we will have an intro to Photography course in which Carly will explain all the awkward technical terms so that you can use your camera on manual and create the most amazing shots. This time I will be assisting. For more info go to the website of Studio541

harvey lotto
The Dedes are getting on with their lives as usual. They all have their own ways of dealing with the current situation Harvey for example is dreaming of the big lottery win and Pig and Professor are out on the turps.

pig prof brain in bottle

On Sunday they woke up and wondered what the white residue in the bottle might be. They looked, turned the bottle, looked again.  Both agreed it looked suspiciously like a pickled brain, but neither of them wanted to admit that maybe the alcohol was taking it’s toll.  Gee were they reliefed when Top Dog came in and asked what they were doing with his bottle. Everybody knows that Top Dog has drowned his grey matter in the substance a long time ago.

top dog claiming brain

Meanwhile L’Artiste is preparing for an exhibition he is taking part in. Unfortunately Sunny, the wannabe artist, has broken L’Artiste’s jigsaw just when he needed it the most. Sunny didn’t apologise, he just grinned like an idiot – I assume because he felt really guilty – and quickly scuffled off

sunny broken jigsaw

As Sunny doesen’t have the money to replace the jigsaw blade L’Artiste said he has to help him with his preparations for the exhibtions – to pay for it. Though the master is not very pleasant at the moment. When it comes to putting the finishing touches to the work he is always unsure about everything. He wants to discuss the finer detail with Sunny. But the assistant with  his overly happy disposition believes everything will be just fine. He simply can’t understand why L’Artiste painfully deliberates over every little detail. “Who cares!” he says.  “It is not your heart, that will be nailed to the wall”, says L’Artiste disappointedly and continues deliberating.

This might explain why L’Artiste is the more successful artist and Sunny still a wannabe, eh.

lartiste critique

Just in case you are interested, here are the four works L’Artiste is putting into the exhibition.

down the road

Down the road from the fairytale gardens (2011)

Black and white photograph on 220gsm lustre paper, mounted and framed | Framed size 600mm by 440mm | Edition of 3 prints.

A walk down memory lane, this image is a homage to those who, for whatever reason, failed  to prosper in a seemingly nourishing environment. The dead tree is uncomfortably juxtaposed with the peaceful glade and the channel of light that symbolises hope. The image was taken in a nature park in my hometown in Germany.



Enigma (2014)

Composite photographic print mounted floating on layers of black paper. | Framed size 330mm x 330mm | Edition of 3 prints

A very personal description of a typical German baby boomer conundrum: the riddle of our parents’ generation’s inability to trust and communicate. It interweaves my mother’s Red Cross Helper’s badge with a well-used page of her cookbook. The swastika emblem on the rim of the badge painfully alludes to an undisclosed past negating the caring symbolism of the image. The red cross is placed on it’s side to look like an x in an official stamp, which loudly declares the key message of my parent’s generation: “Don’t ask!”

from a distance

From a distance (2016)

Mixed Media. | Dimensions 390mm x 390mm

Impossible and inconclusive ponderings on the refugee crisis in Europe from a distance. The white raft is approaching the rigid mainland and breaking its boundaries.

With this work I returned to my favorite symbol of ambiguity – the saltire (x). Depending on the viewpoint, it can mean “x marks the spot” like on a treasure map or it might mean “no entry”

absolutely for and totally againstt

Absolutely for or totally against it (2016)

Acrylic paint on wood | Size 295mm by 163mm

The work is a reminder of the possible and peaceful coexistence of conflicting opinions about the same issue. Concurrently, the thin separating line and parallel tracks stipulate the impossibility of converging these differing notions, even in the future.



The first shipment of the Artist’s Survival Cookbook has arrived. Just in time for the Indie bookfair at the Northshore Event Centre this weekend. For all my overseas friends… the book is now available at Amazon. I haven’t quite figured it out, but they already discounted the book, strange. It is also available on the CreateSpace Store, but here it is my intended price. This is one way of robbing the author of their royalties. Why would anybody buy it on CreateSpace when you can get it cheaper from Amazon, and the shipping is also cheaper there too. Grrrrr. But that is not what I wanted to write about!

The Indie bookfair was a very intersting affair. The exhibitors were small publishing houses, self published authors and companies that offer publishing services for those who want to become published authors. The visitors were mainly the latter or people who knew someone who was exhibiting. So there weren’t many sales to be had all around. I had prepared little bags with one bean plus a Dede instruction card on how to grow the bean, and on the back there was info about the book . At least the visitors were very happy to take the little gift and hopefully they will grow the bean and look up the book on Amazon (slim chance though, but I got some attention). As I was invited by my friend Dee to share her stall, I still came out ahead and Dee herself didn’t do too badly. We both made good contacts with people we can work with in future. And that is invaluable. The comments about the puppets were also nice. A few people knew the puppets from their exhibition and from puppet month last year, so they are little celebrities in their own right.

Personally, I get anxieties when I see so many people in one place all wanting to sell their books. I am pretty sure every single one is worthwhile reading and everyone poured their lifeblood into their work and then there I am, with a book too and wanting to sell it! I think I will have to retreat and play with my puppets again for a little while :)

sams brain

Ah yes, the Dedes are on the back bench for a little while again. I so wish I could work on my book, but at the moment I am overloaded with work at my part-time place. The foundation course I am teaching on has just finished and all those poor teachers out there know what that means: Heaps of marking, following up slackers and other administrative tasks. Last Friday though we had a wonderful exhibition and it was a brilliant send-off for all the students who have been working together for 18 weeks. One of the last modules I taught was fibre arts and the picture shows the work of Sam Hall. I am confident he is one we will hear more of in the future. He is now off to art school in Oxford and I wish him all the very best for his career. The artwork is a felted brain doused in red wine. The helium balloon smiles at you for a while, but when you come back a few hours later it will lie limp and deflated next to the damaged brain.

Last week I did three workshops as part of the Festival of Performing Objects. In those  workshops the participants used my Dede puppets to come up with an impromptu play and then acted the story out. During the process props have to be created on the fly. The story might end up totally different than originally anticipated. The film I put up today, was the one we did last. The group did not know each other, which of course adds another dimension to the workshop. So it took a while until they came up with a subject they all could relate to. Of all three workshop this one was certainly the most structured story and thought through from from beginning to end.

Normally I would take around 200 pictures during a workshop. In this one I got barely 90, so it is a bit of a stretch. But i think the result isn’t too bad.

chech witch

The picture today shows a hand-crafted czech witch, which is on display at the Festival. I have my eyes on her as I see myself in her, but I can’t afford the little cutey. Pity.

This week I will give two talks. One at the gallery about “puppets in today’s world” and the other at school about my artwork. I prepared both talks on Saturday, writing down minutely what I want to say. though I know very well its impossible for me to stick to a script.  As usual I will digress on the day. On the slightest cue from the audience I am off in a tangent. Though I find writing down speeches a brilliant exercise to focus on what I am doing and condense my thoughts into easy to digest sentences. The talk I will deliver to the students will be mainly inspirational and only in the end I will touch on my own pathway. The key message is that in my opinion there are two approaches to be recognised as artist: Either by your work or by your personality. Ultimately you want to be heard in the world of chatter. If you are aiming to be recognised by your work you need to find your style: your voice. If you want to be recognised for who you are you basically have to make noise, be outrageous in one way or another. Of course nothing is as clear-cut… but there is a chance for the quieter ones amongst us.


I was meant to write something about the Festival of Performing Objects. The Festival is really well received and we get a lot of attention. We even got a little write-up in THE art magazine of New Zealand. So I am taking the short-cut again and just publish what they have published.



skeleton Jonathon Acorn

The opening yesterday was an absolute hit. We had around 500 people of all ages through the gallery. Each and everyone lingering for a while and having a close look at the puppets and watching the performances. The day started off with market day, where kids could make their own simple puppets and we had two puppeteers taking turns in perfroming. The picture above shows Jonathon Acorn’s Skeleton having a break from singing and shaking his bones :). Jonathon is a well-known Auckland busker and it was so fantastic to have him perfroming with his the Skeleton in front of the Gallery yesterday. If you missed him yesterday… You can find him on most sunny days in downtown Auckland :).

skeleton Jonathon Acorn-2