The writing on the wall

22:32, Jul 18 2012

With so many green spaces and empty places, artists are taking up the challenge to brighten our cityscape.

Most of us have heard about Gap Filler by now, and know the group has set up chess sets, dance mats, petanque grounds and many more colorful installations in a bid to bring communities together while brightening up our city. It's been refreshing to see what has popped up - my favourite being the latest project, the one inspired by a Monopoly board. It's taken over the space that once upon a time was the Cycle Trading Company, near the corner of Manchester and Dundas streets.

Gap Filler was behind the number of brightly painted pianos that popped up around New Brighton, Woolston and Sydenham, but not the almighty black grand pianos on the corner of Madras and Lichfield streets. These ones are the platforms for a magnificient pair of bulls.

New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai brought his installation back from international showings in both Venice and Paris. The two bronze grand pianos and life-sized cast bulls are testament to the quirky, fun nature of Michael's work. Plus, they look great first thing in the morning, glistening with a fresh coating of white sparkling frost!  

Another public installation in danger of causing crashes is at Cramner Courts. As you swing around Cranmer Square and continue north on Montreal St, you see the old brick building on the corner has  been given new life, despite its crumbling facade, brickwork covered in plywood, and red sticker (the Cramner Courts could be demolished yet). Christchurch aritist Mike Hewson has filled window spaces and bare walls with clever scenes that make you feel as though you are peeping inside.

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The exhibition is called Homage To The Lost Spaces (Government Life Building Studio Series) and another locations includes Re:Start and Victoria Mansions.

Another projected exhibition is one by Doc Ross. At 464 Colombo St, you will see his images on a Sydenham shop wall, showing Christchurch as it used to be, in a time before major earthquakes.

However, it's the smaller flashes of paint that have caught my eye recently, mostly because I stumbled upon a very interesting blog: What is That? In a Banksy kind of way, stencil art is popping up around the city and in places you might easily walk past without noticing. I had heard about a "paste up" example as one of my workmates returned from a walk down Peterborough St with a photo of a digger, which had been drawn on paper, cut out and stuck to a wall, with "Nom, Nom" coming out of its chomping mouth. It seems we need to look closer at our city.

What have you noticed on our cityscape?