If you've done your Modern Art 101, then you'll probably remember the famous line of Comte de Lautréamont (aka Isidore Ducasse) that inspired Andre Breton and Co. back in the heady early days of Surrealism. 'As beautiful', Lautréamont wrote, 'as the chance encounter on an ironing board of a sewing machine and an umbrella.'
Lautréamont lived and wrote about 150 years ago, but his vision came to life again this week during the installation of Julia Morison's exhibition in our new 'Outer Space'. True, the umbrella has become a sieve on a stand, and the sewing machine's become a strange resin stalactite. But there's no mistaking the Surrealist poetry of collision, all playing out on the ironing board's stage:
That's the ramp to our carpark being used as a dump for slabs of concrete that were formerly walls and ceilings. Two shipping containers prevent the whole operation spilling out onto Gloucester Street,
Throughout the centuries man has delighted in creating representations of his canine companions.
That amazingly lame sentence is my way of getting us into a blog about a dog: Julia Morison's dog called Mouse, who's been in attendance all week in our new 'Outer Space' while Julia and the CAG team install her exhibition.
Working offsite differs in many ways from working inside the Gallery. And one thing you were guaranteed never to see was a dog inside the Christchurch Art Gallery. Though there are rumours of the pooch of a current staff member once getting loose inside the Dowse, as a rule we try to keep live animals away from the priceless objects.
Mind you, it's not as if Mouse has the heft to do any damage. A young chihuahua, she's so tiny and light that when she jumps up and down you'd swear she was about to float off. And when Julia wants to restrain her, she ties Mouse to nothing weightier than her handbag.
What's this blog got to do with art? Nothing. We just like Mouse.