Archives for posts with tag: exhibition


I am back to normal! At least that is what I think :).

Unfortunately I have to own up to something. I actually don’t have any images from opening of the exhibition itself. I took a few pics when we finished setting up and a couple just before the guests arrived. This time I couldn’t afford to employ someone to photograph during the event like I did when I had the book launch. I noticed the gallery people were taking photographs though. I will ask if they can give me one to publish on the blog. Otherwise I will take some next Sunday when I will be at the Gallery all day and I am expecting a little crowd.

The image today shows quite nicely how the set up works. The puppets are placed on plinths in the middle of the room and as artworks they are back to their “No Body” status. The heads sit idly on their custom-made stands.

The images on the wall are from the blog and the text accompanying the image is placed below. I focussed on shorter pieces that tell a complete story so the visitors don’t have to read too much if they don’t feel like it. But by reading even just a few snippets they still get the idea of the puppet world. If you have followed the blog for a while you can make out the image where Sunny copied the artwork of ArtistatExit0, and by doing so created our mascot Lil’ Sculpture. Next to it is the image of the puppets doing a dharna on my doorstep. In all the pictures the puppets wear their robes and really come to life.

I have had a lot of very good comments about the presentation of the blog and my vivid imagination. I am not sure if the latter is a good thing, but I’ll take it as a compliment for now.

The image below shows two of my life-savers racing around setting up drinks and nibbles just before the guests arrived. It illustrates the size of the puppet heads. One comment I get quite often is that people assume the heads are bigger. But they are glove puppets after all. Most of them are between 12 and 15 cm high.


I also updated my Characters page today. I had to take mug shots of all the new puppets for the exhibition anyway. But as you might know, I don’t want to get to close to the newbies. I abstained from writing their short description, even though some of them are really pushy and want to tell me their stories :)

set up

Phew, the exhibition is finally underway. But what a nightmare it was to get there… I have to apologise for neglecting the blog for a little while. I honestly wanted to get back into writing daily in the build-up to the opening, but somehow it didn’t pan out like this. I won’t go into detail about the last week, that we had a visitor staying with us while our house didn’t have all the walls, or kitchen, and only one sink, or about the cold nights without insulation. The last 24 hours before The Opening were enough to make a puppet cry… if it still had the energy.

Friday we set the space up. What we thought would take us 3 hours took eight! Ah well, it is an acceptable misjudgement when it is your first exhibition. It was far more important that I had enough material to hang on the walls. I printed pictures and stories from the blog and they look really great on the wall. It’s a pity that the last thing I saw on Friday night was a glaring spelling mistake in the headline of the very first print-out the visitors will see. So it was a trip back to the office that night to make a new print-out and also to write an artist’s statement that I had totally forgotten about.

At least when I went to bed on Friday night I was sure everything was ready to go and there were only few minor things to do the next day before the guests would arrive for the opening.

I am a fortunate person. I only have migraines once every two years. Unfortunately, when I woke up on Saturday morning it was that day! My first thought was I can’t have one today so I popped a head-ache pill, totally forgetting that they don’t really agree with my stomach. Sure enough, it didn’t take long before I started throwing up. Hubby remarked jokingly that the pills were certainly 5 years past the best before date. I checked, and yes, the expiry date was March 08. It didn’t occur to  me to check at the time. They looked like the things I needed then and there.

But back to the story. A few hours of rest before the opening should have sorted me out, but the builders had asked us if they could put the gib board up on Saturday. Of course, as we want the house finished soon, we were happy for them to come in. How could I have known that I would have a migraine? So there wasn’t much reprieve with all the sawing and drilling and hammering going on in the other rooms of the house.

When we were finally ready to leave, we hopped in the car only to find the windscreen had cracked. And not just a tiny little crack but a huge, spiderweb crack right across the driver’s side. Something had hit it. All the wine for the opening was in the car and had to make it’s way to the Gallery. I tried to ring a friend to ask if she could pick me up. But both of my trusted friends who live close by were out and of course I had left my mobile phone at the office the night before, so I couldn’t ring them on theirs. I simply didn’t have their numbers.

Finally I got hold of one of them and yes, she would pick us up at 1pm. Thank goodness we stayed late the night before to finish everything. Otherwise I would have panicked by now but I felt far too seedy.

One o’clock came and went. No trusted friend in sight. Twenty past one and I was starting to get a bit nervous as said friend is usually very reliable. So I went to check the phone. Would you believe it? It was off the hook. So I rang my friend again. She was still at home and couldn’t find her car keys!

We made it in the end, and we made it before the guests arrived!

Ask me how it went. I can’t tell you. When it was all over, I went into the kitchen to thank my helpers and said “What a fizzer, eh!” All three of them looked at me as if I was at a different party. They thought it went very well.

I am pretty sure it was the Dedes. They tried to sabotage The Opening as they don’t want to be sold!


There is just over a week to go until the exhibition opening. Some press releases have been sent out. As I am so used to doing my own thing quietly, I am not not particularly well connected. Unfortunately that now shows when it comes to inviting media. I basically have no clue what to do. The staff at the gallery is very supportive, but of course I am not their only artist. Last night I sent a mayday email to a PR friend who is currently overseas and she too was very helpful. She got back to me immediately with some really good ideas. I can’t complain. Indeed, the feedback I get is overwhelmingly positive and it is amazing how this positivity can carry you.

I spoke to the gallery manager today and finally decided to print a few nice posts (images and text) from the blog to hang up on the walls. Does anybody have a favourite to suggest?

Two of my personal favourites are the “dharna” episode last year and the guy fawkes one. I just re-read them and honestly, I am so looking forward to settling back into our normal life once the exhibition is over and the house is all done up … Hopefully soon!

Today’s new puppet is Know-it-all. Outwardly he is quite loud, but if you get to know him better, it will soon be revealed that it is only a disguise. He tries to paper over his cracks by simply being noisier than anybody else.

exhibition flyer.indd

Yesterday I had a meeting with the curator of my exhibition. It really hit me then that it is only a month away. I have to fill a room and 30 meters of wall space. What a luxury…

I spent today creating my promotional postcard. I love this image of Fairy Godmother and Devil. They look like they are sharing the town secret, and it didn’t take me long to decide they will become the pin-up couple for the exhibition.

ArtistatExit0 made a brillant comment on the blog yesterday. He suggested that if some of the puppets sell, maybe the new owners could contribute to the blog by sharing how their Dedes fare in their new home. I love the idea of having a real Dede community. I am not sure though if the blog is the best platform to accommodate such a community, or whether face book would be more suitable. (I am still not particularly familiar with face book). I will mull it over and hope to have something in place before I sell the first one. It would be exciting if the new owners of the Dedes  would be willing to participate every so often. And it certainly would make it easier for me to part with them.

I want to include parts of the blog into the exhibition. After all, I have 30 meters of wall space to fill. (The puppets will sit on plinths so visitors can walk around them). At the moment I am thinking of having two electronic frames side by side. One showing images used on the blog and the other one showing the matching text. I am not sure if it will work. That is something I dreamt up recently, but haven’t investigated further. And this certainly doesn’t fill 30 meters!

On the two Sundays during the exhibition I will have puppeteering workshops. It became clear in my conversation yesterday that when it comes to playing with puppets everybody just assumes it is for children. Personally, I enivsage the puppets sitting on grandmother’s bookshelf rather than in the kiddies’ toy box. I explained this to the curator. Today I got an email from her telling me about a conversation she subsequently had with some people from U3A (University of Third Age). They seem to be quite interested in the puppeteering idea. Oh, there is still so much to do. For now I am happy that I recovered my spirit from the bottom of the toy box!

This week I’ve seen the first promotion for the Dede puppet exhibition, which will be at the end of June in the Depot at Devonport (Auckland, New Zealand). It was printed in the Gallery’s quarterly magazine. The blurb reads as follows:

Dietlind Wagner, Dede puppets 22 June to 4th July. Opening Saturday 22 June 3pm to 4:30pm

In a hyper-communicative world Dietlind Wagner slowly transforms old news into her vibrant colourful character heads,  Dede puppets.

For Wagner, these sculptures are a vehicle to express introspective views on interpersonal communication. Her puppets are designed to charm, bewilder and even repulse thus inspiring reflection within the viewer. The puppets uniquely sculptured and collaged faces allude to the fractured personalities in the fast paced world of modern-day communication. The stories they tell are homage to real friends and real people with all their flaws and idiosyncrasies. Being a very private person Wagner has not exhibited extensively but her puppets have managed to tease her out into the public. An installation of five puppets was selected into the finals of the 2012 Wallace Art Awards.

I’d better get back on track…I am meandering a bit at the moment!

When I arranged the exhibition, I knew I was cutting it a tad fine with the renovations that are going on in my house. The Dedes didn’t even exist, when we started planning the extension two and a half years ago, but the physical build started in February this year.  Silly me, I didn’t expect the actual build to impact on my psyche. The whole thing is supposed to be finished at the beginning of June. Has anybody ever finished in time?

house2 house

The pictures here are two weeks old and the build has progressed since. In the meantime everything is wrapped in building paper and the cladding is nearly completed. Soon we will have a staircase going up to the first floor. The floor boards are still missing though. And yes, we are really living on the site. Under the remaining black tiled roof.

sunny scavenging-1-2

Today is a holiday in New Zealand. It is Waitangi Day. On this day in 1840 some (but not all) Maori chiefs signed a treaty at James Busby’s house in Waitangi. The document put the inhabitants of this country under English protection. Unfortunately the translation into Maori sounded somewhat different from the English version. And of course it is wide open to interpretation.

I am relatively relaxed today and finally summoned all my courage to tell the Dedes that I will have a Solo Exhibition at the end of June for two weeks. I haven’t signed the contract yet, but it is pretty much teed up. So, why did it take me so long to tell them?

When I first started to discuss the exhibition with the gallery back in November, the curator suggested I should sell the puppets at the show. But I am very hesitant, after all they are the protagonists of my books and my blog. I can’t just sell them off. But of course, the gallery needs to earn some money. So I will have to have something to sell. Fortunately I still have four month to think about it. It could be large photographic prints (but would someone be interested in buying them?) or some specially made puppets that don’t appear on the blog (How much use is a single puppet?). Questions and more questions and I don’t know the answers yet. I had to promise the Dedes though, that all the existing puppets are safe. Don’t tell them, but I crossed my fingers behind my back, when I promised. I admit, it’s not a very nice thing to do, but who knows what happens in four month. Never say never!

The Dedes seemed to have mellowed a bit since I last broached the issue of sales back in November. Then I had a riot on my hands and it took nearly a week to calm them down. Today, they just said it was wonderful news and they are looking forward to having a gig in the real world. Then they went off and continued doing their own thing. It makes me wonder if some of them aren’t ready to emigrate. Maybe Bobby is looking for a new job, or Cash Cow wants to move out of the garage. Who knows!

After my announcement, I made myself a cup of tea and sat on the deck for a while. I watched Sunny scavenging through the builders rubble and putting stuff to one side in a little pile. Sunny is a wannabe artist and he even imitated L’Artiste’s dress today. Personally, I don’t think I have ever seen him do any work. Though he is very good at talking about what he is going to do one day, when he has found a patron. So, I was more than surprised, seeing him dragging bits and pieces onto the deck.

“What are you doing there?” I asked as the stash grew.

“An artwork of course, I thought, now that you have organised a gallery space, I might be able to slip one or two of my artworks in. You wouldn’t mind, would you?”

“I can’t promise right now, I have to see them first.”

“I have this brilliant idea and you have to brace yourself… You will be blown away, just wait!”

First I have to see if he actually finishes something by the end of June.