The museum context uses objects to authenticate its own existence and provides a frame from which to view the world. Discussion regarding the Carnegie cases, from Auckland Museum, has centred around the Edwardian framework. The cases inherently overlay turn-of-the-century aesthetics and cultural beliefs over items placed within. It could be considered that the Carnegie cases are a symbol of cultural domination and assimilation.
Greer Twiss has been aware of these assessments, commenting ‘the Carnegie case is like the gold frame around a colonial painting of the Polynesian landscape with European trees and Grecian natives. The frame gives authority and truth to the scene.’
He has constructed a new case out of galvanised iron; a construction material which is most stringently identified within colonisation, specifically in New Zealand.
The installation accentuates the sculptural elements of the original case through the creation of the ‘new’ case out of galvanised iron - the ‘fake’ case - which stands beside the ‘original’.
Comparing the two cases highlights Twiss’ representation, not duplication and therefore poses pertinent questions about the Carnegie case and it’s New Zealand relevance.
The design of Twiss’ case is not direct reproduction, but representation. Twiss’ case differs in construction material but it has many other anomalies.
‘This is in the nature of representation that shifts, dislocations, faults will occur. The quality of the manner of representation will carry its own message.’ - Greer Twiss
→ Carnegie Cases sculptor's motivation, Eastern Courier, 31-07-1998
→ A Case Of Representation, 1998, publication