by John Wishart
Abandoned Works by John Wishart will debut in March/April 2019 at SIT’s Raw Gallery, 25 Don St, Invercargill before touring the South Island. Abandoned Works focuses on the collection and re-framing of found detritus Wishart describes as abandoned. Wishart subverts the notion of completion proposing that an artwork is never finished but rather abandoned.
Fragments concealed and revealed through seemingly aged, broken and corroded surfaces, reinforce Wishart’s desire to mimic and preserve the story of transformation, etched over time, into discarded or overlooked relics.
Appearing as traces of the ocean’s memory, Wishart’s constructed remnants present as artifacts - a series of suspended moments in the gradual deterioration that characterises the transition of abandoned objects from one form to another.
The Ocean Beach Freezing Works does not quite lie at the southernmost tip of the South Island, falling a mere six kilometres short, but it must surely have qualified, at least in its time of production, as the worlds southernmost meat works. High, dry and abandoned in the early 90s, its empty shell has only recently been re-inhabited, appropriately enough, by the fishing industry and its by-products.
The beach at the foot of its ramparts is strewn with the detritus of past lives. Along with the residua of shells, carapace and kelp lie the artifacts of occupation – bleached buoys, concrete slabs rounded, bouldered, ribs still showing, bottles beaded and blasted, transformed into objects of an uncertain provenance, an uncertain beauty.
It has been my joy as a sculptor to cast these objects, or at least their simulacra, and the spirit residing in them onto our urban shores in the hope that they may re-occupy our own barren and abandoned places.