This exhibition brings together work from Mark Adams’ seminal 1988-1992 series Land of Memories, and photographs made over the last four years from Chris Corson-Scott’s ongoing project photographing Aotearoa.
Mark Adams’ Land of Memories was published in 1993 in collaboration with historian Harry Evison. Here Adams looks clearly at what remains of sites important to Māori – particularly those related to the gathering of food and resources. By showing the inattentive ways in which European colonisation had scarred or erased them, Adams’ work presciently foreshadowed current thinking on decolonization, while also being a complex critique of settler photography and the colonial gaze.
One of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most esteemed artists, Adams has worked for decades with large-format cameras to capture places and practices with cultural, ecological and historic significance. His work has been exhibited in major museum exhibitions nationally and internationally.
In new photographs, Chris Corson-Scott ventures further to the most remote early European industrial sites in Te Waipounamu, exploring the extremes settlers undertook to build fortunes, and the resultant damage to environment and community once industry fails and is abandoned. In his attention to these sites, Corson-Scott asks us to question the equivalences in modern economies, heightened by the urgent need for a move towards sustainability to address climate change and decolonization.
Although younger, Corson-Scott also relies on large-format cameras for full expression, producing haunting images that sit within a global conceptual discourse focussed on the international structures that facilitate wealth extraction from individual countries’ natural resources, the ways in which these give rise to cycles of development and decay, and how the quest for sustainable development in this century will collide with these structures.
Thanks to Two Rooms for Mark Adams’ participation.