stumbling alongside one another 2018
digital prints on stretched charmeuse silk and laser-cut acrylic adornments
photograph courtesy of the artist.
Tim Wagg’s stumbling alongside one another blends old and new modes of art-making. His stretched works immediately recall paintings, but they incorporate a host of non-manual processes, the images captured using digital cameras, tweaked with software, and printed by machine. His adornments are similarly dependent on the digital/mechanical, being designed on the computer and laser-cut. The use of recently developed technologies provides a bridge to earlier works by the artist, which examine the ways in which New Zealand politicians of the 1980s and ’90s set out to shape a deregulated, ‘competitive’ economy favourable to technological innovation, and the belief of these politicians in the transformative power of such innovation.
Here, the artist turns his attention more squarely to phenomena and concerns of the present. Photographs of interlaced youthful hands and of a camera screen showing dreamily lit mountains are reminiscent of Instagram or Tumblr posts, while earrings modelled on roses and snakes have the flavour of digital icons or pictograms. At the same time, Wagg’s motifs have political connotations, hinting at emergent ideologies based on cooperative engagement. Another image, made under the Harbour Bridge, accepts the potential of technology without forgetting the natural. Swelling seawater jostles artificial light, producing an automatic sketch capturable only in the presence of both a sophisticated camera and a deliberate human agent.