Matt Ritani | If you have nothing nice to say

3 May - 8 June 2019

Opening Preview: Friday 3 May, 5.30pm 

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Blue Oyster Art Project Space, 16 Dowling St, Dunedin

Free to attend, all are welcome.

Blue Oyster is pleased to present If you have nothing nice to say, a new solo exhibition by artist and designer, Matt Ritani. Developed over the course of 18 months, this exhibition spans across both gallery spaces to include sculpture, installation and sound, all developed through the manipulation of text found in public spaces, and includes existing fragments of poetry, pop songs, journal articles and novels. The central, conglomerate text created by Ritani with support from Gregory Kan will be presented as an audio recording performed by Neenah Dekkers-Reihana. Accompanying the exhibition we are proud to present new writing from Jessie Puru, a poet based in Tāmaki Makaurau. 

If you have nothing nice to say considers the notion of empathy in public spaces; text and audio are used to explore the act of public platitude, as seen on people’s bodies, clothing and transportation. Here, public platitude can be read as an acknowledgement of a love, or deep care for someone or something or a cry for interaction. For those who self identify through text in the public realm, whether the wearer or driver of this self-expression, If you have nothing nice to say seeks to see, acknowledge and respond.

Matt Ritani (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Irish) is a Pōneke-based artist and designer who graduated with a Master of Architecture (Professional) from Victoria University of Wellington, School of Architecture and Design, Aotearoa in 2015. Recent exhibitions include: The house we built, play_station, Te Whanganui-a-tara (2018); Laminal Interfaces, with Hannah Hallam-Eames, Window Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau (2016), Belly of the Beast, Brick Bay Folly, Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, Matakana (2015).

Jessie Puru is a Māori/Pākehā poet from Tāmaki Makaurau. She is currently studying a Master of Creative Writing degree at Auckland University of Technology and is working on her first collection of poems. Jessie’s work has been published in journals including Landfall, Blackmail Press, Ika, and Poetry Magazine.  

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