A hollow action, a room held together by letters

Mallarmé had always been aware of the fact – unrecognised before and perhaps after him – that language is a system of highly complex spatial relations whose singularity neither ordinary geometric space nor the space of everyday life allows one to appreciate. Nothing is created and no discourse can be creative except through the preliminary exploration of the totally vacant region where language, before it is a set of given words, is a silent process of correspondences, or rhythmic scansion of life. Words exist only to signify the areas of correspondence, the space onto which they are projected and which, no sooner, signified, furls and unfurls, never being where it is. Poetic space, the space and ‘outcome’ of language, never exists like an object but is always spaced out and scattered.

Maurice Blanchot, ‘The Book to Come’, A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections About the Book & Writing, Jerome Rothenberg and Steven Clay (eds), Granary Books, New York, 2000

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5th Auckland Triennial, 2013


Janet Lilo, Right of Way, 2013. Installation at Artspace.


Before Artspace became Artspace it was called Artwork. In our storeroom we still have a broom with Artwork’ written on it in black marker pen, and someone has added an ‘s’ at the end in blue. This broom might be considered a synecdoche – a figure of speech in which a specific aspect refers to the whole thing, a container that is used to refer to its contents, and vice versa. Artspace was established in 1987 through the will and commitment of a group of motivated people (artists, critics, civil servants, an accountant). Using public funding the group took over a low-rent space in Central Auckland, an area that was unfashionable at the time. Not long after Artspace’s arrival, the area became sought after by urban developers, forcing the gallery to move from Federal Street to Quay Street, then up to Karangahape Road, where Artspace has been since 1997.

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