In 1978, Matt Pine installed Placement Projects at the Auckland Art Gallery and other Auckland locations. He used everyday materials like aluminium pipe and black tape to create minimalist, site-specific works that explored a sense of place.
Pine, like pioneering Maori artist Ralph Hotere, attended art school in London in the 1960s. There, he was influenced by minimalist sculptors such as Carl Andre and Sol LeWitt, whose work eliminated all non-essential features to find a subject’s very essence. From the 1970s, Pine’s work extended these ideas by referencing Māori and Pacific cultural forms, particularly architecture.
Te Papa invited Pine to revisit Placement Projects and create new installations in response to our current exhibition Māori minimalism and international influence. His works in both locations respond to the precise shapes and limited colours in Ralph Hotere’s and Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings.
Matt Pine, Line Circle, commissioned 2016. Te Papa
Matt Pine, Brick work, commissioned 2016. Te Papa
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.