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23 August 1996 —
22 September 1996

Gail Haffern:

Gail Haffern: Opening, 1996 (installation view).


Gail Haffern is installing one hundred volumes of the Library of Congress Subjects Catalogues into the Studio Gallery at the Fisher Gallery.

Discarded by the University of Auckland Library in favour of CD Rom cataloguing systems, the volumes catalogue and order the subjects of the known world. It is this ordering of knowledge that appeals to artist Gail Haffern.

The books are all the same size (very uniform) and the artist will install them in a grid like pattern across two adjacent walls of the gallery. Using an aesthetic idea of a library, attachments will be made with brass and each tome illuminated individually like a rare and special book, open and waiting to be read.

But ordered the world is not and neither will the volumes be fully legible. Each open book is the canvas for the artist’s painting. The writing is obscured and added to using a tar paint. This exhibition questions the basis of our knowledge systems and the changes wrought the media in which we contain it.

Haffern is a sculptor who graduated from Elam School of Fine Arts in 1993 with a Master of Fine Arts Degree. In 1995 she participated in Bookwards at The National Art Gallery in Wellington, receiving a citation of excellence. She has had exhibitions at Artspace, George Fraser, Warwick Brown, Lopdell House and New Work Studio galleries in solo exhibitions since 1991.

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