Pyramid Club presents renowned Aotearoa sonic explorer Phil Dadson at Futuna Chapel in a special solo concert as a tribute to his former teacher, the revered artist Jim Allen. Allen (who taught Phil at Elam art school in the 1960s) has been called the “father of experimental art” in New Zealand. He was a pioneer of post-object art and performance art in this country, and is regarded as the most influential art educator of his generation. Allen died in June this year aged 100. Futuna, one of NZ’s most iconic buildings, is the site of some of Jim Allen’s most important and enduring artworks, and this concert (and following panel talk) is a celebration of Allen’s contribution to art and culture in Aotearoa.
Phil Dadson was close to Jim Allen throughout his life and Phil’s performance at Futuna will touch on some of Jim’s favoured performance ideas and sound makers. Also performing is DSLB (aka Chrissie Butler) and artist Tim Barlow who will present a new group performance piece taking Jim Allen’s 1974 performance ‘Contact’ as a departure point. The concert will be followed by a panel discussion on Jim Allen’s work and legacy by a heavyweight panel of artists and writers including Phil Dadson, Liz Thomson, Greg O’Brien, Christina Barton and Tim Barlow.
2pm concert: Tribute to Jim Allen with Phil Dadson, DSLB, Tim Barlow
4:30pm: Jim Allen panel talk
Phil Dadson is one of New Zealand’s most important living artists and a seminal figure in the history of sonic arts in Aotearoa. His highly inventive trans-disciplinary approach encompasses experimental musical instruments and sonic objects, video/sound installation, music composition, graphic scores, drawing, sound sculptures, improvisation and collaboration. Founded in 1974, the group From Scratch was Dadson’s central creative outlet through the 1970s and 1980s, producing internationally celebrated performance works encompassing Dadson’s mixed interests in instrument making, composition and visual aesthetics and underpinned by environmental and political themes. Since the group’s heyday in the 1980s Phil has continued to create with interminable energy, exhibiting, performing and producing solo and collaborative work around the globe.
DSLB is the solo project of Chrissie Butler from Mr Sterile Assembly fame, whose “sideways lyrics and staked up patterns” bring a glistening glean to erogenous ears.
Tim Barlow is a multimedia artist whose installations, performance, and social artworks explore intersections of environment and ethics, community activism and humour. Barlow’s new work ‘Self-Mediated; Health Professionals grapple with new information’ has been created specifically for Futuna chapel and takes elements of Jim Allen’s influential 1974 performance ‘Contact’ as a departure point. ‘Self-mediated’ will incorporate a variety of contemporary media forms into a multi-sensory game where a team of Health Professionals undertake a quest to create a well-adjusted ‘self ‘. Note; there may be loud noises, confrontational themes, flashing lights and a smoke machine utilised during this performance.
Born in Wellington in 1922, Jim Allen served as a machine gunner in Italy during Second World War. After the war he stayed in Italy undertaking art studies at Perugia University and Instituto d’Arte Florence, followed by a Diploma of Fine Arts from University of Canterbury and in 1951 he became an Associate of the Royal College of Art, London. In 1976 he was among the early exhibitors at the Experimental Art Foundation in Adelaide, South Australia.
Jim Allen's work had a significant influence on the development of post-object practices in New Zealand. His environmental sculptures place the experiential elements of spectatorship foremost, and his performances emphasised ephemeral process over and above the physical object. Allen’s work is included in collections in countries all over the world, including the UK, America, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Alongside his pioneering art practice, Allen is regarded as the most influential art educator of his generation in Aotearoa and Australia, where he was a vital force in shaping the local art scene during the 1960s and 1970s. Employed by New Zealand’s Department of Education as part of the Gordon Tovey-led art education initiative, Allen taught a radical hands-on teaching in schools in the Far North alongside the revolutionary educator Elwyn Richardson. Allen’s commitment to student-led education informed his tenure as head of sculpture at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland (1960–76) and as the founding Head of the Sydney College of the Arts (1977–87).
Read more about Jim Allen’s life here.
Presale tickets $27.50 from UTR
Futuna Chapel, 67 Futuna Close, Karori
Many thanks to the Futuna Trust and to Creative NZ for supporting Pyramid Club’s programme.