Writing of his classical musical training as a cellist, Richard Sennett observes "the development of any talent involves an element of craft, of doing something well for its own sake, and it is this craft element which provides the individual with an inner sense of respect. It's not so much a matter of getting ahead as of becoming inside."

Employing differing art forms, Gilded Blessing (the cello is a Chinese 'Blessing' brand) is a collaborative audiovisual installation between gilder Sarah Guppy and composer Eve de Castro-Robinson. Both were attracted to the idea of exploring the musical instrument as a metaphor and a conduit for traditional artisan skill and contemporary sound practice.


Gilded Blessing has been configured so that while near the cello, the viewer taking in the sensuous gold gilded form simultaneously informs a proximity monitoring camera. In some sense the viewer is able to 'play' the cello in the act of moving around but not actually touching it.


An integral part of this project is not only the craftsmanship, but also the musical instrument as a performance object. Eve de Castro-Robinson has composed nine melodic phrases for the cello. It is these electronically manipulated 'blessings' which the viewer is able to activate and take in while in the intimate presence of the finely hand-crafted object.




Eve de Castro-Robinson is a critically acclaimed New Zealand composer whose works have been performed internationally. Twice winner of both the SOUNZ Contemporary award and Philip Neill Memorial prize awards, she was awarded the CANZ Trust Fund award in 2000.


Sarah Guppy is a gilder and painter. Trained in the UK where she worked on the Royal Collection among many other prestigious projects, she has over 25 years experience and is an exhibiting painter with work in collections in the UK and New Zealand.

Eve de Castro-Robinson and Sarah Guppy, Gilded Blessing, 2009.