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Matt Couper: Thirty-Three


Wed 13 Mar 2013, 10:00am–4:00pm
Thu 14 Mar 2013, 10:00am–4:00pm
Fri 15 Mar 2013, 10:00am–4:00pm
Sat 16 Mar 2013, 10:00am–4:00pm
Sun 17 Mar 2013, 1:30pm–4:00pm

Where: Tairawhiti Museum, Stout St, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free


Listed by: tairawhitimuseum

Thirty-Three presents a series of paintings by Matthew Couper executed in 2009 at the age of 33, as a ‘rite of passage’. Each painting documents a year of the artist’s life, so the exhibition takes the viewer on Couper’s journey, from growing up in Hawkes Bay, to attending art school, travelling overseas, teaching and painting, learning lessons, encountering misfortune and luck and exploring ideas of mortality, sex and religion.

Painted in a chronological narrative, the style of the work references the Spanish Colonial painting genre of the retablo. It also alludes to ex-votos—nineteenth century devotional paintings executed by village artisans. These were commissioned by a client in gratitude to a specific patron saint to acknowledge an incident or personal experience.

The focal point of the exhibition is the eponymous installation resembling a makeshift altar for rebirth rituals. The number 33 is often related to Christ’s death and resurrection in Christian religion, but is also a prominent number associated with rebirth rituals throughout different cultures.

Matthew Couper is represented by Paulnache, Gisborne.

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