A large scale installation sculpture by Auckland artist Nancy de Freitas is set to transform the Fisher Gallery from the 24th of March. Parallel Histories is the result of a collaboration between Nancy de Freitas and poet and writer Kapka Kassabova. Each has brought to the project their personal histories; specifically their responses to the time and place they now inhabit, from their respective viewpoints as New Zealanders who were not born in this country.
The installation, which is over 12 meters long, runs the length of the gallery and is made up of large undulating stacks of sheets of glass. The glass is inscribed with extracts of text from Kapka Kassabova’s writing. The transparent, parallel layers of the glass can be seen as representing layers of meaning, experiences and memory. The long, undulating format of the installation suggests travel, journey, and the passage of time. Landscape forms are echoed in the form of the glass stacks - a river, the sea, mountains, coastline. The slowly changing and scanning lighting of the work recalls us of the passage of time; alternating light and darkness, day and night.
The title and construction of Parallel Histories makes reference to the fact that although we are living in the same time and place, we can live ‘parallel lives’ and each have very different experiences of this life. Our perceptions and experiences are all coloured by our personal histories - the sum of what makes us who we are.
Nancy de Freitas says ‘This work is the culmination of many ideas that I have been exploring in different forms over a number of years. It is a work that feels important to me on a personal level in that it represents a cementing of my own sense of identity in this country. It speaks for the place and time in which I have produced a family, a stake in the future. This marks the space in which new journeys are begun that will, nevertheless run parallel with those of the past, on this soil and in other parts of the earth.’
The length of the sculpture makes the works specific to the Fisher Gallery, being one of the only galleries in Auckland that could accommodate the size of the work, in an environment with no natural lighting. Gallery director Candy Elsmore says ‘the installation will strike strong emotional chords in the viewer. The combination of sound, lighting, spoken and written language and the structure of the installation will be a profound sensory experience that will not fail to leave an emotional impression on the visitor.’
→ Nancy de Freitas: Parallel Histories, 2000, exhibition card
→ Nancy de Freitas: Parallel Histories, 2000, publication