You may remember Simon Denny’s recent exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery titled The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom. It’s not an exhibition you forget easily, both for its relevance to recent media controversy and the wide array of extravagant objects filling the gallery.
For the exhibition Denny recontextualised the official list of 110 items of personal property seized by the New Zealand Police from internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom in 2012. Some descriptions on the list were quite vague forcing Denny to be creative with his visual representations. For practical and financial reasons certain items were not reinterpreted in 3D but all 110 items were represented on a 2D printed canvas, like the one above. Denny’s work is not a complete visual form of reporting as there are clear aspects of speculation, however it does serve to expose the ways art can be an active tool to understand and participate in topical sociopolitical debates.
The new work hanging in our office at 3oupstairs was freshly taken off the walls of the exhibition and is now part of our collection. It looks like a giant replica of a screenshot taken on a smartphone and reads ‘Seized Property #103 – Artwork, Christian Colin’. The reproduced photo in the centre shows five men from a moving company in fluorescent yellow shirts, de-installing a massive sculpture of a sci-fi looking head. It’s interesting to see that as the artwork becomes just another one of the items confiscated, it is being treated like a flatscreen or a piece of furniture – there seems to be no need for protective gloves usually used to handle such artworks.
Denny’s practice is heavily research-based and often takes form through a combination of sculpture, installation, found objects and moving image. His interest and investigation of digital technology, communication systems and internet-connected businesses means he is involved in discussions and interpretations of these sectors and is relevant well beyond art world discussions.
Simon Denny is a New Zealand artist living and working in Berlin and will represent New Zealand at the 2015 Venice Biennale later this year.