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Marion Wassenaar: Diamond Mine


Fri 2 Apr 2021, 11:00am–5:00pm
Sat 3 Apr 2021, 11:00am–1:00pm
Thu 8 Apr 2021, 11:00am–5:00pm
Fri 9 Apr 2021, 11:00am–5:00pm
Sat 10 Apr 2021, 11:00am–1:00pm

Where: RDS Gallery, 6 Castle St, Dunedin, Otago

Restrictions: All Ages

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Listed by: RDS Gallery

Diamond Mine: New Work by Marion Wassenaar
19 March – 10 April 2021
Opening Reception: Friday 19 March, 5–7
RDS Gallery, 6 Castle Street

Marion Wassenaar explores the use of carbonised objects as an integral part of her project as an artist. To create the works exhibited in “Diamond Mine” (RDS Gallery, 19 March through 10 April 2021) she carbonised crocheted doilies and then put them through a printing press, by which process they become images on paper that we perceive as two-dimensional. She thereby highlights the visual complexity of these mundane objects, many retrieved from op shops – discarded remnants of past lives that are recycled through these prints, recalling the Arte Povera movement inaugurated in the 1960s. Associated with the Italian city Turin, Arte Povera artists explored the use of discarded materials (“trash”) as a sustainable alternative to the fine arts tradition that privileged rare and costly media, from gold to marble. In so doing, Wassenaar obliges us to consider not only the ecological implications of contemporary art and fashion practices, but also the aesthetic dimensions of these deceptively humble household adornments, all too frequently (and unfairly) relegated to the category of tacky, ironic nostalgia by contemporary high-culture tastemakers.

These prints further, through their complexity, suggest the affinities of knitting and crochet with what have become known as STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math. Mathematician, Ami Radunskaya comments: “These are beautiful images….Knot theory is at the forefront of mathematics now, with applications to understanding DNA, drug targeting, and chemical bonding, in addition to more theoretical applications in computer science and mathematics. These two-dimensional projections of knots are fodder for knot theorists, and they have been an object of study at least since Gauss (1794).”

The poetry of these figures produced by a series of simple knots, now presented as “flat” patterns, invokes the deep and sustained relations between science and art as the product of the creative and imaginative capacity that we all share as human animals.


Marion Wassenaar, who already had a background in commercial printing, gained an MFA with distinction in 2013 from the Dunedin School of Art, with which she is now affiliated. She “specialises in print practices with a research interest that focuses on the collision between humans and their environment, either through social justice or ecological concerns”. In her words, “I lecture in the Print Studio (Print Laboratory) at the Dunedin School of Art, and curate the Otago Polytechnic Art Collection.” Associated with a number of art practices – print, installation and photography – she is particularly known for her work with carbonised objects. In 2018, she was awarded the Estuary Art and Ecology Prize for her repurposed and carbonised book work “Unplugged”.

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