Judy Darragh & Luciano Chessa – Wire Less & Green Music (5/07/2018 – 28/07/2018)

Luciano Chessa & Judy Darragh poster

Please join us in celebrating the official opening of a new collaborative exhibition by Italian artist / composer / performer / scholar, Luciano Chessa, and celebrated New Zealand sculptor, Judy Darragh! This work marks the first collaboration between the two, following their meeting in 2016 during a residency at Montalvo, in Saratoga, California.


Their remarks around this initial meeting, and their working together during Chessa’s residency at The Audio Foundation are as follows:


I met Judy—and thus encountered her art—in 2016 while we were both Lucas Artists in Residence at Montalvo, in Saratoga, California.

I loved her work, or, I should say her world, immediately. Populated by a theory of fearless shapes and colours calling the viewer’s attention with their saturated palette, Judy’s sculptures are signs/totems pointing to a fundamental, if abstract, mystery. This and her passion for the colour green, all meant that we were meant to become friends.

At once clashing and exciting, her work is the “green” music I so often wish to write. Eventually it occurred to us that our countries of origins, Italy and New Zealand, were a double inversion: both shaped like boots, Italy is pretty much antipodal to New Zealand, and also it’s a mirror version of it. And as we both realised that we come from islands (I’m an Italian from Sardinia), that meant that we were meant to become collaborators, and that we were meant to work in New Zealand on an installation made up of enchanting neon green foam islands and whispering noises.

Designed to accompany the visual experience of contemplating Judith Darragh’s Wire Less, Green Music is a mechanism made up of ropes and pulleys that controls four noisemakers (a set of fishing bells, wind chimes, bamboo chimes and a shaker) placed in the four upper corners of a room. Green Music is both an installation and a musical instrument; as such, it can be played by one, two, three, and up to four musicians. With a sound colour/dynamic range as subtle and expressive as the ears of the beholders, the instrument is an open invitation to find pleasure in the contemplation of simple sounds in place. The interface, installed in the centre of the room, allows the performer(s) / listener(s) to play all four noisemakers and therefore create a surround sound experience that is unlike any recreation of surround soundscapes achieved through loudspeakers.
– Luciano Chessa


Luciano and I met at Montalvo Arts Centre on an artist’s residency in San Francisco 2017, as I left I invited all the artists to come to New Zealand …he did! To get here Luciano programmed a year of talks and playing to hit New Zealand shores, going further still to Rarotonga.

I had given him a small work similar to the green plastic lantern forms in Wireless and we decided to use this as a starting point for a sculptural component with his percussive instrument, we researched for materials in hardware stores, my studio and Norcross fishing shop. The use of found percussion instruments in Luciano’s analogue piece references the use of found materials in my work.

The glowing green plastic forms made from water bottles, behave like lanterns or beacons or strange toxic growths which pooling on circular foam pieces. Like Islands, the work forms an atoll form that alludes to our pacific surrounds. A postcard from Rarotonga?
– Judy Darragh


Opens – Thursday 5 July, 5.30pm (w. refreshments from Liberty Breweries)
Hours – Tuesday – Saturday, 12.00pm – 4.00pm.
Closes – Saturday 28 July 4.00pm