Matt Pine: Placement Projects revisited
Ralph Hotere, Black painting, 1970. Purchased 1997 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. © Reproduced courtesy of Ralph Hotere. Te Papa (1998-0013-1).
Ralph Hotere’s black paintings of the 1960s and 70s reduced the elements of painting to their purest forms. Here, a square subtly shimmers inside a set of rings, perhaps referencing Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing ‘Vitruvian Man’, whose figure stands with outstretched arms within a square and circle.
Hotere belongs to a grand tradition of colour painters who worked with black. These artists, including Ad Reinhardt, Francisco Goya, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Kazimir Malevich, all masterfully showed the flexibility and richness of black as a colour for expressing intense emotion, spirituality, or austerity
Black painting was the stimulus for Pine’s Brick work and Line circle.