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Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation

Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation

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  • Wed 18 Nov ’15, 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thu 19 Nov ’15, 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Fri 20 Nov ’15, 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sat 21 Nov ’15, 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Sun 22 Nov ’15, 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • View all sessions


City Gallery Wellington, Civic Square, 101 Wakefield St, Wellington


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Related Artists:

Fiona Pardington

Death, sex, flesh and the female gaze are among the many themes explored in City Gallery’s new exhibition, Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation. The exhibition, from 22 August, brings together over 100 photographs— a comprehensive survey of work spanning 30 years. It reveals the key concerns that have shaped the work of one of our most important, and most celebrated, photographers.

Pardington describes photography as a “hesitation in time”. She uses its disruptive power to unsettle our understanding of the world. “Taking a photograph is like tilting at windmills. It’s taking on the universe,” she says. The exhibition ranges from intimate family portraits, made at Elam art school in the mid-1980s, to the expansive projects involving objects and taonga from museum collections here and in France.

Harnessing the power of photography to breathe life into the objects she encounters, Pardington’s subject matter is diverse, often subversive or confronting. The exhibition also tracks her use of different photographic processes. An expert in analogue hand-printing, Pardington has fully embraced the possibilities of the digital to work on a large scale and to enter new conceptual territories.

Curator Aaron Lister has divided the exhibition into four sections across all three downstairs galleries. He says A Beautiful Hesitation will broaden viewers’ understanding of the photographer’s work, “Pardington has continually expanded and redefined the parameters of her medium in Aotearoa and beyond”.

Working with the seasons, Pardington’s recent still lifes incorporate materials salvaged from beaches, riverbeds second-hand stores and the side of the road —all with deep personal and cultural meanings. This salvaging of found objects and images runs throughout her art practice. The One Night of Love series re-presents photographs of female nudes taken from a found cache of proof sheets destined for soft-core magazines. The medical suite series, from the show Tainted Love, re-photographs images of disease from medical textbooks. In all of her works, the personal and political—and ways of looking and being—are forcefully intertwined.

Fiona Pardington (b. 1961) is of Scottish (Clan Cameron of Erracht) and Maori (Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe, Ngati Kahungunu) descent. She has a Doctorate in Fine Arts, University of Auckland.

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