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Jim Allen

Creating small worlds

Jim Allen’s Small worlds, Tribute to Hone Tuwhare and Space plane, environment no. 1 are key examples of post-object art in New Zealand. They are contemporary refabrications of works that artist Jim Allen first presented in 1969.

The works were originally designed for people to walk through – a challenge to the accepted understanding of sculpture at the time. By creating a ‘small world’ that could envelop and surround the audience, Allen proposes that sculptures could be environments for people to experience rather than just objects for viewing.

In Tribute to Hone Tuwhare, Allen incorporates lines from a poem by his contemporary, Hone Tuwhare (1922–2008). The poem, called ‘Thine own hands have fashioned’, echoes Allen’s desire to create a rich, sensory experience.

Watch an interview with Jim Allen

This text was prepared for the Collecting Contemporary exhibition, February 2012.

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