Australian entrepreneur's art collection goes on show at the Auckland Art Gallery
A Puppet, a Pauper, a Pirate, a Poet, a Pawn and a King
Auckland Art Gallery
August 31 - January 27.
Naomi Milgrom who is one of Australia’s leading business women and entrepreneurs is also one of the country’s major sponsors of the arts and a major collector. For the first time she has allowed part of her to collection to go on public display at the Auckland Art Gallery.
Milgrom is chairman and CEO of the Sussan Group in Australia and is on a number of boards including the Advisory Council of the MIR Investment Management Group.
Under her 20-year leadership, the Sussan Group grew to become Australia’s largest privately held specialty fashion retailer with over 550 stores and more than 4500 employees throughout Australia and New Zealand
The exhibition “A Puppet, a Pauper, a Pirate, a Poet, a Pawn and a King”, a title borrowed from the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’ includes Andreas Gursky’s large format colour photographs, Kara Walker’s video installation ”…calling me from the angry surface of some grey and threatening sea” and Wilhelm Sasnal’s “R.Oppenheim and His Brother”.
Also in the exhibition are works by Turner Prize winner Martin Boyce, African interdisciplinary artist William Kentridge and German photographer Thomas Demand.
The three photographs by Gursky in this exhibition are examples of his work from the 1990’s providing panoramic views of cities and interiors which are metaphors for the twentieth century’s growth and development as well as pointing to the isolation of individuals in overcrowded environments.
His work showing a Nike shoe display turns the idea of individual classy shoes into an image of the repitiivness and world wide sameness of the product. It also has similarities to the endless rows of pills created by Damien Hirst.
The Williams Kentridge works are mainly of his charcoal drawings which he uses to make his strange animated films. One of these films is also being shown – “What Will Come", is an anamorphic film that evokes the ‘picture puzzles’ of the pre-photographic era. The drawings are distorted by a mirror then reflected back into another, cylindrical mirror which ‘straightens’ the images. Kentridge has commented, ‘I’m interested in machines that make you aware of the process of seeing and aware of what you do when you construct the world by looking. This is interesting in itself, but more as a broad-based metaphor for how we understand the world.’
In a sophisticated play on projection, reflection and transformation, Kentridge presents scenes from the Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935–6 and an accompanying soundtrack that uses an Italian marching song from the fascist era. The
Milgrom has built a collection in which the poetic and intimate co-exist alongside powerful contemporary imagery in a diverse collection embracing a broad spectrum of ideas, art techniques and perspectives.
‘It is the first time I have ever shown a group of works from my collection in a public space, and I can’t wait for people to experience the works,’ says Ms Milgrom.
Auckland Art Gallery Curator, Contemporary Art Natasha Conland, says the exhibition touches on the different roles and influences artists explore today, as well as the capacity for artists to reinvent, reinterpret and transition between different media.
‘The exhibition offers a rare glimpse into the private collection of one of Australasia’s foremost contemporary art collectors and an important advocate for the arts.
‘Naomi Milgrom is not only building a significant private collection, but is also a major supporter of art education and cultural projects in the southern hemisphere,’ she says.