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Temporary art commissions launched in celebration of new Auckland Art Gallery     
Choi Jeong Hwa, Flower Chandelier, 2011.

AUCKLAND.- Three commissioned contemporary artworks will be launched on 19 August as the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki prepares to deliver New Zealand’s largest visual arts experience. Large-scale sculptural works by Choi Jeong Hwa of South Korea, Jeppe Hein of Denmark and New Zealander Kate Newby are bound to become firm public favourites when the newly restored and expanded Gallery opens to the public on 3 September.

Art Gallery Director Chris Saines is thrilled with the result of the commissions. “Choi Jeong Hwa’s playfully monumental work has had an immediate impact on Kitchener Street, and Kate Newby and Jeppe Hein’s works have taken shape across the Albert Park facing sculpture terraces. Inside and out, the building is proving a brilliant and lively platform for public art.”

Flower Chandelier by Choi Jeong Hwa was specifically designed for the Gallery’s north atrium. Colourful giant flowers suspended from metal rings inflate and deflate, while LED lights in and around the blooms illuminate the artwork at night. The artist’s influence extends outside the Gallery walls, with another temporary installation, Red occupying the reflection pool in the forecourt.

“Choi’s sculptures and installations merge sci-fi with the everyday, blend low culture with high, and mix what is serious with the seriously comic,” says Senior Curator Ron Brownson. Choi’s art has adorned cities worldwide, from Bangkok, Copenhagen and Tokyo to Venice, Lyon and Sydney. The Auckland Art Gallery will host Flower Chandelier for one year.

Internationally renowned public sculptor Jeppe Hein was chosen to create an artwork for the east sculpture terrace. Long Modified Bench Auckland, which will be in place for three years, is the latest in a series of sculptures based on park benches and the way people react with their surroundings. The bench travels along the terrace, performing a series of loops and acrobatic feats before dipping down to the gallery space below and reappearing, creating a stimulating and lively space – as well as a seated area for visitors.

The Gallery’s north terrace will host a flexible programme of artworks rotating over a six-month period. One of New Zealand’s new generation of installation artists, Kate Newby, has created its first commissioned artwork. Her work, titled I’m just like a pile of leaves, consists of a coloured expanse of concrete, with handmade items added for the close observer. A substantial block wall alters the way viewers move around the space, while a yellow rope binds the terrace to nearby trees. The artwork invites the viewer to find beauty within seemingly ordinary and everyday scenes.

The Gallery has also commissioned three Māori artists to create three permanent and enduring works in celebration of the building development. These will be revealed after a blessing ceremony on 1 September.

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