Author(s): Julian Dashper
This is not writing brings together for the first time the writings of the great New Zealand artist Julian Dashper (1960-2009). As an artist and writer he was deliberate as nature, and this body of work represents a parallel to his ongoing consideration of painting practice in the aftermath of modernism. Throughout his career as artist and educator, Dashper wrote, assiduously, in a range of forms as particular as the matters he explored – by no means limited to art – but he always insisted he was an artist not a writer. His writing voice is calmly curious, circumspect, wryly humorous, and, in form, his writing ranged from essays to interviews, meanderings and lists.
Julian Dashper was born in Auckland, New Zealand on the 29th February, 1960 and died 30th July, 2009. He is regarded as one of New Zealand's most well known contemporary artists working internationally today. In 2001 he was awarded a senior Fulbright fellowship to be based as an artist in residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. Dashper’s work from the last 25 years has recently been the subject of a major touring retrospective in America (the first ever such exhibition for a resident New Zealand artist), curated by Christopher Cook and David Raskin. Dashper’s work focuses on the histories, theories and more general or popular ideas of abstraction (in particular abstract painting), conceptualism and minimalism as a working methodology. The geographical positioning of New Zealand globally and how this country receives and disseminates visual information is also a core subject in Dashper's work. His practice manifests itself in various forms, including paintings, unique photographs of paintings, found objects which he infuses with abstract images, various multiples plus limited edition CD and 12” polycarbonate recordings of impromptu performances he has been involved with or heavily orchestrated. Respectful, even affectionate references to local culture and art history are always present in Dashper’s work, whilst his own adaptations of abstraction, conceptualism and minimalism fully acknowledge their lineage within international art. As curator (and director of the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington) Christina Barton expresses it, Dashper has “the unique perspective of attending to an internationalist art history from a distance, enabling him to devise strategies to work around his geographical isolation whilst simultaneously articulating its effects.” Dashper is represented in all the major public collections in New Zealand: MCA, Sydney; Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany; Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Nebraska; The University of Auckland Art Collection; Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Kansas and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.