HOTERE, Ralph;

Nineteen Eighty Four

1984
Corrugated stainless steel on board
815 x 900mm

Nineteen Eighty Four is from Ralph Hotere’s Aramoana series, which came about as a result of his opposition to the proposal to build a second aluminium smelter at Aramoana, not far from his home at Koputai Port Chalmers. As in much of his work made during the years 1982 to 1985, he has made use of recycled elements, here a sash window frame, which holds the whole construction together. While it has a formal value, it also connects with the many old villas of the Otago area and is conservationist in its ‘waste not’ aspect.

Hotere’s preference is for strong colour, most often black, which gives his work a serious tone. He always avoids representation but suggests a great deal by the use of splattered paint, which can have diverse associations, including rain, lightning, and explosions. This work could perhaps be looked at as the view through a window—in which case its message is hardly one of unrelieved gloom. Like all good abstract painters, Hotere wishes the viewer to pay as much attention to the formal (design) aspects of the painting as to any message conveyed.

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