Salt of the Earth, Melissa Macleod
Opening: Tuesday 5 December at 5.30pm
Project Runs: Tuesday 5 December – Monday 18 December 2017
5 Linwood Avenue
Reflections on Salt of the Earth, a temporary public art project
Melissa Macleod in conversation with Jamie Hanton, February 2018
Text is available for download below.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)
Salt of the Earth is a major new temporary public artwork by New Brighton-based artist Melissa Macleod. The monumental sand sculpture will symbolically and materially link the east side of Christchurch to the central city. This latest work is an ambitious continuation of Macleod’s practice, which has engaged with the coastal areas of Christchurch, particularly the environmental and social challenges faced by these communities, for a number of years.
Salt of the Earth takes place in the Christchurch Residential Redzone with the permission of Land Information New Zealand. The redzone could be considered a liminal–or inbetween– space that buffers the central city from the eastern suburbs. By creating a giant sand wedge, evocative of a doorstop, the intersection of Linwood Avenue, Woodham Road, and Avonside Drive will be prised open. Literally bringing parts of the coast inland, Macleod will physically shift the experience of sand into another part of the city. In this area sand becomes a loaded material, especially considering the liquefaction that engulfed roads and properties across the eastern suburbs during the February 2011 earthquake.
It is highly likely that due to environmental and human impact Salt of the Earth will have a very short lifespan. Reflecting the uncertain post-quake situation in the east side of Christchurch, we acknowledge the potential disintegration of the work and hope that it speaks to the strength and fragility of a community that is both determined and “trodden under foot”.
Melissa Macleod (b.1973) based in New Brighton, Ōtautahi, is an interdisciplinary artist, working primarily across sculpture, photography, and performance. She has exhibited in numerous New Zealand galleries and artist-run spaces such as; the High Street Project, Teststrip, The Hirschfeld Gallery, and The Physics Room. Recent projects and accolades include: gift of ghosts, The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu Bulletin Artist Page (2017), University of Canterbury Masters Award (2017), Precarious Nature, CoCA (group/ 2016), Mass and Pattern, Jonathan Smart Gallery (group/ 2016), The Sir Robertson Stewart Scholarship (2016), Ark, Ilam SoFA (solo/ 2015).
Melissa and The Physics Room would like to thank LINZ for their help securing an appropriate site, SCAPE Public Art for their guidance in the early stages of the project, Fulton Hogan for their donation of sand and its transportation, RMD New Zealand and Charter Transport for their time and resources in creating the formwork, In Good Form for their expertise and advice, Kenneally Timber for their generosity in supplying timber, Linwood Rugby Club for their help building the work, Signtech for their assistance with the signage and, of course, to all the people who volunteered their time to make this work possible. We couldn’t do it without you!
RMD New Zealand
In Good Form
Linwood Rugby Club