Julia Holderness is a designer and artist who produces domestic wares within art narratives, combining factual and fabricated versions of a chosen story. Inspired by lists of pottery items from original catalogues, Holderness revisits the applied arts and objects from the historical exhibition series The Group Shows in Christchurch.
Holding annual exhibitions from 1927 to 1977, The Group gained their reputation for showcasing the latest trends in contemporary New Zealand art, including painting, sculpture, drawing, prints, architectural plans, pottery and textiles. By revisiting particular epochs in New Zealand’s art history and conflating it with international movements such as the Bauhaus (1919-1933) and Omega (1913 – 1919) workshops, this installation explores appropriation, aesthetic lineages and combines several influential design archives as sources for contemporary fabrication.
Using the exhibition catalogue lists as an inventory, the fabricated and re-presented ceramic and textile items, foreground and re-focus the objects that were always listed at the rear of these catalogues, Holderness reassesses the position of the applied arts and in particular, pottery and textiles within the arts domain. Tracing alternative and sometimes imagined histories of modernism in New Zealand, this archival installation practice privileges the decorative, domestic and design - categories often overshadowed by the dominant fine art impetus in New Zealand’s art history.