In 1993 Auckland artist John Reynolds exhibited his extraordinary Eureka School works at what was then the Fisher Gallery. To re-visit this important work, a catalogue/artist’s book has now been produced which contains images from the artist’s journal, an essay by Allan Smith and original artwork by John Reynolds. The 2001 exhibition, Eureka School Details, is an exhibition with a combination of new and old work from Eureka School.
The Eureka School project began in 1992 when Fisher Gallery Curator Louis Le Vaillant extended an invitation to John Reynolds to undertake a ‘large scale installation’ in the Iris Fisher Gallery. At the time Reynolds was preparing to travel to Spain as part of the New Zealand contingent for the Distance Looks Our Way exhibition at the Seville Expo, but agreed to the exhibition on his return.
While in Spain, Reynolds recorded his discoveries, insights and analysis in journals which were the basis for the exhibition and subsequently the publication. In 1993 Eureka School became huge painted and drawn journal pages containing fragments of architectural plans, details of classical mouldings, a tree of life, death or knowledge, a vibrant purple panel of random, barely remembered gestures and a panel of carefully executed abstract colour lines, traces of objects which combine to explore a range of connections with social, historical and aesthetic issues.
The work now has an impressive provenance: initially created for the Fisher Gallery, placed first in the 1993 Visa Gold Art Awards and now in the collection of the Chartwell Trust.
There was much discussion regarding the format of the publication and it was unanimously agreed that, since Eureka School has been so well recorded in its final format, this publication should explore a different tangent.
In preparation for the exhibition in 1992, Reynolds suggested that there be a catalogue in which he wrote ‘I would enjoy preparing a companion text/come visual-roller-coaster introduction. Notes rather than essay obviously.’
Now in 2001, long after the original notes were received and buried in a folder, laying undiscovered until the writing of this introduction, the visual diary/catalogue eventuates.
This publication becomes a series of conversations: between Allan Smith and John Reynolds and between the work, the creation process, between time, now and then. This publication has been possible through a Creative New Zealand grant.
→ John Reynolds: Eureka School Detail, 2001, publication