Block Units

Block Units

Gavin Hipkins


510 Karangahape Road, Auckland

14 November - 8 December, 2018

Gavin Hipkins,  Block Painting XXVI , 2016, unique-state archival print, 1000 x 1000 mm

Gavin Hipkins, Block Painting XXVI, 2016, unique-state archival print, 1000 x 1000 mm

Since 2015 Gavin Hipkins has been assembling and photographing hand-painted toy blocks. Symmetrical pairings of painted blocks have been titled to suggest the forms and status of painting and sculpture. These suites include Hipkins’ Block Paintings, Block Sculptures, and Block Figures. Using a macro lens, the scale of the unique photographic prints monumentalise the original tiny wooden blocks. Whereas earlier series offered up the everyday as curious objects, or superimposed disparate items in surrealist tableaux recasting what we thought we knew, the Block series re-presents a familiar and humble children’s toy as significant and monumental.

Taking on the status of paintings, toy blocks become imposing geometric forms reminiscent of architecture. The series’ titles connote historical relationships to modernist sculpture and painting yet complicate the status of the object-assemblages by photographing the ordinary objects and presenting these as enlarged prints. As curator Stephen Cleland notes, “the resulting works subtly probe the specifics of photography and its ability to approach the languages of both sculpture and painting.”

(From gallery website)