Motutapu: Benjamin Work & Brendan Kitto

Motutapu
Benjamin Work & Brendan Kitto
Foreword by Zoe Black, essays by Pita Turei, Paul Johansson, Stan Wolfgramm and the artists
Designed by Shaun Naufahu and Giordano Zatta

Presented as an exhibition at Te Uru and as this publication, MOTUTAPU is the conclusion of a four-year journey by artist Benjamin Work and photographer Brendan Kitto. This project looks at the shared history of Motutapu (sacred island) throughout Moana Oceania – including Tongatapu, Rarotonga and at the entrance to the Waitematā Harbour here in Tāmaki Makaurau. Motutapu is a place of sanctuary. Positioned at the entrance of great harbours, straddling the open ocean and the mainland, it serves as a gateway for navigators arriving and departing on voyages. The lifting of tapu and making things noa took place on Motutapu, allowing navigators to continue with their journey back to their closest kāinga, even if it was generations later.

Work and Kitto’s inquiry into Motutapu was initially centred around the shared name. What soon became apparent was a deeper connection to their own hohoko/ʻakapapa (genealogy) as they travelled to three of the Motutapu locations and connected with key knowledge holders. Motutapu has become a metaphor for Work and Kitto as a starting point for these personal journeys. Through Work’s paintings and Kitto’s photographs of their journeys, combined with the introductions to the three Motutapu locations by Pita Turei, Paul Johansson and Stan Wolfgramm the book offers, for the extended diaspora of Moana Oceania, a way for reconnection and reconciliation and as a reminder of what joins communities across time and space.

“Motutapu reminds me of the Tongan practice of Tauhi vā (to nurture or maintain relational space), as a metaphor of this sacred in-between space, an island straddled between the deep moana and the fonua of the mainland . . . When Brendan and I first embarked on this journey we were unaware of where this would lead us, but we now know this was a journey of restoration, healing and connection – to moana, fonua and ultimately with ‘Otua.”

Benjamin Work

“. . . Pita Turei, Paul Johansson and Stan Wolfgramm, who generously offered to guide interactions with each island, . . . The stories imparted by each knowledge-holder were offered through worldviews that leave space for multiplicities of knowledge, championing shared understandings that centre the question ‘What do you know it to mean?’. Their collective research offers an appreciation of three locations that have immense importance personally, while respectfully leaving space for others to tell their stories of these lands.”

From the foreword by Zoe Black

RRP $70.00

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Card-cover, perfect bound | 176 pages (indigo 130gsm Satin Matt) Cover (270gsm Bagdad Brown) 203mm x 254mm portrait
Limited edition of 250
ISBN 978-1-99-116520-6
Publication: August 2022

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Closing Time: photographs from the Hotel Kiwi 1967 – 1975

Closing Time: photographs from the Hotel Kiwi 1967 – 1975
Gary Baigent, John Fields and Max Oettli
Featuring texts by Elizabeth Eastmond, Ted Spring and the photographers

This limited edition zine-style photobook feature the photographs made at the bars of Hotel Kiwi from the archives of three photographers, who have all, in their own way, contributed to the development of early contemporary art photography in New Zealand.

Hotel Kiwi was situated at the corner of Wellesley and Symonds Streets in Auckland – close to the University and the Elam School of Fine Arts. Described in The Pub-Goer’s Guidebook (1966) as “Built almost entirely of formica and rubberised floor tiles, with the whole place giving out a general lavatorial atmosphere, it surely represents all that a pub should not be . . . The only feature of the place that is at all remarkable – and the only reason for giving it a ½ an award are the barmen. They are possibly the best we encountered anywhere.”

Max Oettli found employment as a bartender at Hotel Kiwi after graduating from University of Auckland in the late 1960s. He carried his Leica camera on the job, photographing the varied patrons of the old and new, around the time ‘six o’clock swill’ was scrapped to more civilised 10pm closing. As well as the Hotel being the go-to student bar, artists and photographers – many associated with the art school – frequented the bar and are captured in this booklet. Max is joined by fellow ‘New Photographers’ Gary Baigent and John Fields, (a title coined by Athol McCredie in his exhibition, The New Photography at Te Papa), who photographed their friends and acquaintances at Hotel Kiwi at the time.

Together, they immortalise the punters, photographers, artists and poets as well as art dealers in action: Glenn Busch, Simon Buis, Allan Leatherby, Paul Gilbert, Garry Colebrook; Colin McCahon, Pat Hanly, Peter Eyley, Harry Wong; Sue Crockford and Rodney Kirk Smith, just to name a few.

This book also features texts by Elizabeth Eastmond, who lectured in the Art History department and Ted Spring, then a student at Elam recollecting their time spent at ‘the Kiwi’, in conjunction with field notes and recollections from the three photographers.

“Here, is the wisdom and failings of age, the impetuosity and rudeness of youth, all jammed into a room, thick with smoke and drumming with noise. Conversations are a spectrum in themselves ranging from worn clichés and small talk to nuclear physics, with plenty of spread thighs and cock jumbled in from both sexes.” From John Fields’ dairy, 21 February 1969.

Gary Baigent is a key figure in the emerging moment of contemporary New Zealand photography of the late 1960s. Born in Wakefield, Nelson, in 1941 he majored in painting at the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts, Christchurch from 1960 to 1962. Baigent began working on The Unseen City: 123 photographs of Auckland, a book on Auckland’s urban life, published in 1967, with its contrasty, grainy images shot on the streets, in backyards and pubs, on the wharves and in student flats. The book was polarising but it also helped stimulate a new style of photography.

John Fields (1938-2013) was born in Massachusetts, USA and was educated in Rockport, a New England artists’ colony. He learned to photograph while in the US Navy and became a commercial photographer in the early 1960s before working as a specialist in electron microscope imaging at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He emigrated to New Zealand in 1966 to continue working in this sphere at the University of Auckland. He also brought an expectation that photography was better recognised within the arts in his adopted country. To this end in 1970, he organised a cooperatively published booklet of the work of ten contemporary photographers, Photography: A visual dialect – the first such publication in New Zealand. He was also responsible for one of the first exhibitions of contemporary photography at a dealer gallery: a group exhibition at Barry Lett Galleries in 1972.

Max Oettli was born in Switzerland in 1947 and migrated to New Zealand with his family in 1956. He was brought up in Hamilton and was a trainee press photographer at the Waikato Times over university vacations from 1966 to 1969. He applied this experience to his work on the student newspaper Craccum while he studied English, history and art history at the University of Auckland. From 1970 to 1975 Oettli was a technical instructor in film and photography at the University of Auckland Elam School of Fine Arts. For some of this time, he was also the founding president of PhotoForum, a group advocating for and promoting expressive photography.

(Biographies are extracts from the Te Papa website)

RRP $40.00

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Soft-cover, saddle stitched | 56 pages (indigo uncoated 100gsm)
285x 210 mm | Limited edition of 150
ISBN 978-0-9951184-9-2
Publication: March 2022

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Jellicoe & Bledisloe

Jellicoe & Bledisloe
David Cook

When David Cook moved to Hamilton East, he was drawn to the colourful and creative lives of his neighbours. With camera in hand, he explored everything from front-yard mechanics to Sunday roasts, creating an intimate documentary of a State Housing suburb in the 1990s, moments before gentrification set in. In this energetic photobook, we look back twenty-five years to see burgeoning issues of relevance today: housing, bi-cultural relations, social welfare, and freshwater quality, all brought to us through the lens of daily life.

The title, Jellicoe & Bledisloe, is a reference to the local street names, commemorating New Zealand Governors General from the early twentieth century. Reflecting on this colonial heritage, Cook writes an engaging first-person account of the suburb, featuring a conversation with Ngaati Wairere historian Wiremu Puke. Together they unearth suppressed histories and rewrite our understanding of the Waikato landscape.

Te Papa Tongarewa holds a significant collection of photographs from this series. The work is also featured in an exhibition Jellicoe & Bledisloe: Hamilton in the 90s – David Cook at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery / Te Pūkenga Whakaata, Wellington (24 Feb – 15 May 2022).

David Cook’s photo-documentaries deal with communities in transition. Publications include Lake of Coal: the Disappearance of a Mining Township (finalist in the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards), Meet me in the Square: Christchurch 1983-1987 (winner of the 2015 MAPDA Exhibition Catalogue Award – major) and River Road: Journeys through Ecology.

David Cook interviewed by Lynn Freeman in Standing Room Only

RRP $50.00

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hardback | 108 pages
245 x 200 mm
ISBN 978-0-9951184-8-5
Publication: February 2022

Design: Sam Fraser and David Cook

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Road People of Aotearoa: Images of house-truck journeys 1978-1984

Road People of Aotearoa: Images of house-truck journeys 1978-1984
Photographs by Paul C Gilbert

Foreword by Michael Colonna
Essays by Haru Sameshima and John B Turner

A historic photo-essay by the late Paul C. Gilbert, this book chronicles the early days of the New Zealand phenomenon of DIY house trucks, which appeared on the roads around the mid-1970s as part of an alternative lifestyle movement. The house-truckers were drawn to the alternative life and music festivals of the time, including Nambassa in the late 1970s and Sweetwaters festivals in the early 1980s. Paul Gilbert travelled with the grass-roots music and performance troupes in their convoys of hand-converted house trucks starting with ‘The Original Travelling Road Show and Mahana’, as they journeyed through small communities and music festivals around the North Island.

Paul Gilbert’s camera intimately observes the road people while building and decorating the house trucks with their wonderful interiors and also in their everyday activities. He captures their children and families and the fringe circus and musical performances in various festivals and different locations. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, many house truck conventions and grass-roots festivals around a variety of themes were held in New Zealand where house-truckers would converge, not only for the event but for the opportunity to connect and share information with other truckers. Low-key festival circuits could be found in regions of Coromandel, Northland, and West Auckland, where, for two decades, Moller’s farm at Oratia west of Auckland, a popular venue for blues and folk festivals, offered an open house for truckers to park on a semi-permanent basis as needed. These were unique times indeed.

Paul C Gilbert (1954-2019) started taking photographs as a young boy via family influences. Early projects were developed as documentary street photography in the fine arts tradition when he was a founder member of PhotoForum NZ in 1973. He was employed as a photographer at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and then at the Auckland City Art Gallery in the 1970s. He left employment to pursue the project, ‘Road People of Aotearoa’ in 1978. Later, as an independent photographer, he mainly specialised in documenting maritime heritage, vessels and history. He was the technical instructor of photography at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland from 1990 to 2008.

Haru Sameshima, in his essay, interviews many of the house truckers – to uncover the historical context of the musicians and street performers against the backdrop of the latter stages of the alternative life movement that manifested in the festivals and events in Paul’s photo-essay. The musicians, clowns, street performers, and their friends, who have now seen many of Paul’s photographs for the first time after 40 years, recount the festivals and road journeys in their own words. John B Turner, influential photography teacher at Elam School of Fine Arts from 1971 to 2011 – in his essay reflects upon Paul’s life as an individual and a photographer – and situates his image-making in the international movement of personal documentary photography, as an embedded observer of life, rather than outsider reporter/photojournalist.


Without a counterculture, what chance has the mainstream culture of improving, growing and diversifying? As well as being vehicles of imagination, poetry and a romantic life-concept, the vehicles photographed by Paul Gilbert have become a far greater force in the country’s evolving consciousness than anyone ever expected. In the present era of small houses and mobile homes, these images offer not only a prehistory but also a soundtrack and some messages worth deciphering, written with love on the fugitive walls and ceilings of the not-so-distant past.

– Gregory O’Brien

RRP $50.00

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hardback | 184 pages
275 x 235 mm | 200 illustrations
ISBN 978-0-9951184-6-1
Publication: October 2021

Read the review by Tony Watkins.
Listen to Johnny Tucker interview by Kim Hill HERE

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The Greatest Show: Warren Tippett’s pots from a life less ordinary

The Greatest Show: Warren Tippett’s pots from a life less ordinary

Moyra Elliott and an essay by Peter Wells. With photographs by Marti Friedlander and Studio La Gonda

Revised and expanded second edition.

Biography and works of potter – Warren Tippett (b.1941–d.1994).

Researched and written by Moyra Elliott – co-author of Cone Ten Down: Studio Pottery in New Zealand 1945-1980, (Bateman 2009). Warren Tippett was an agent of change in New Zealand ceramic practice. He was reared as a ‘mud and water man’ in the 1960s because of where the strengths lay in the clay culture of the time with its influences from an imported Anglo-oriental style. However, he jumped ship and some twenty years after he became a potter, after playing briefly and creatively with sculpture – returned to the vessel and made the surface decoration his primary concern. He investigated areas that hitherto had been of little interest in New Zealand pottery and in doing so, connected with long histories of decorated pottery from many cultures. He also took references from his surroundings in Grey Lynn introducing palm trees, cacti and floral motifs and responded to the fresh stimulation of his urban environment with its strong Polynesian elements – lei and lava-lava and the Tongan brass band along with the vibrant street life where the raffish and the gaudy juxtaposed the cool. His new vocabulary became something unique – an expression of a region, a poly-centrist, polygenetic place located somewhere on the western Pacific part of the map.

Through his work, Tippett helped reform the canon of ceramics in New Zealand. No artist works in isolation but he was critical for the acceptance of earthenware in contemporary ceramic practice. His legacy is that he legitimised electric firing at lower temperatures which overturned an entrenched blueprint on how to make and what to make. By embracing the aesthetics more associated with pop culture, Polynesia and carnival ware, he opened doors to a healthier diversity.   

The first edition of this book accompanied a retrospective exhibition of Warran Tippett’s work at Objectspace in Auckland 2005/6 curated by the author.  This 2nd expanded edition features a visual chronology of Warren Tippett’s works, as well as previously unpublished portraits of Tippett by the late Marti Friedlander, and revised photographs with better reproductions of key works. 

Available October 2021

ISBN 978-0-9951184-7-8

Limited to 100 copies

RRP $40, 44pp 210x260mm portrait with cover, saddle stitched.

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“Warren Tippett is a seminal figure in the history of New Zealand studio ceramics because his works and lifestyle connect up key moments and significant local and international studio ceramics dynamics. In the words of curator Moyra Elliott, “Tippett helped reform the canon of ceramics in New Zealand.” Tippet started potting in Invercargill in the late 1950s. By the 1970s, and living in Coromandel, he was recognized as an important second generation figure in the ranks of potters working within the Anglo-Oriental tradition. This school of thought derives from the writings of English potter Bernard Leach which drew inspiration from medieval English and traditional Japanese and Korean pots which emphasised material, a quiet decoration and the spontaneity of the firing process. The philosophy engendered a vocational, workshop centred, pottery making life. It was this approach that informed most New Zealand studio ceramics production of the time. Moyra Elliott has pinpointed the time around the 1978 exhibition at Auckland’s New Vision Gallery and the 1980 Five by Five show at the Denis Cohn Gallery as a pivotal time in Tippett’s practice which “condense shifts in New Zealand clay practice, which actually took more than a decade, into a little over a year. The shift revolves around notions of function and diversity…there was a repositioning beyond function and into the decorative.” Changes in Tippett’s lifestyle were reflected in his work. As his interest moved from form to surface his work embraced the colourful and vibrant influences of his own Auckland and Sydney environments, the traditions of decorated Oriental and Mediterranean ceramics and contemporary international developments that located ceramics as part of a wider dynamic visual culture. In making a series of innovations within his own practice he “overturned an entrenched blueprint on how to make pots and what kind of pots to make. By embracing the formerly scorned earthenware and aesthetics more associated with pop culture, Polynesia and carnival-ware he opened the doors to a healthier diversity””.

Biography of Warren Tippett – Sarjeant Art Gallery

‘Amui ‘i Mu‘a: Ancient Futures
Dagmar Vaikalafi Dyck
Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi
with contributing essays by
Dr. Billie Lythberg, Dr. Phyllis Herda Dr. Melenaite Taumoefolauand  Dr. Seini Taufa
Contemporary artists, academics and master practitioners of Tongan art celebrate the treasures of the Kingdom of Tonga and the history of their dispersal throughout world institutions and collections.
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Hinemihi: Te Hokinga – The Return
Hamish Coney and Dr Keri-Anne Wikitera
with contributions by Jim Schuster, Lyonel Grant and photographs by Mark Adams
The journey of the carved house Hinemihi o Te Ao Tawhito (Hinemihi of the old world) is one defined by cataclysmic events and the unpredictability of elemental forces.
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The Weight of the Captain’s Wrist: Paintings from the Cook, Waitangi Wallpaper & related series
Peter Ireland with an introduction by Jane Stafford & Mark Williams and an essay by Gerald Barnett

The first monograph of the New Zealand painter Peter Ireland – this book surveys his practice, on the theme of Captain Cook’s voyages to the Pacific. Ireland’s exquisite, detailed and enigmatic “history painting” is beautifully reproduced in this 100pp., spot varnished, offset reproduction, to reflect the oil on paper originals. Coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the first sustained European contact with Aotearoa New Zealand, this book features … Continue reading