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DISTURBANCE IN THE GALLERY The Painting of Rudolf Boelee Part 2

Part 2


DISTURBANCE IN THE GALLERY The painting of Rudolf Boelee

Articles, Reviews & Opinion: James Norcliffe – Anna Dunbar – Sally Blundell – Rosemary Forde – Nicholas Gorman – Martin van Beynen - Don McAra - Keiller MacDuff – Christopher Moore – Marian Maguire –Georgina Barr- Bill Dudley – Marilyn Rae-Menzies – Adrienne Rewi

Design & Commentaries: Rudolf Boelee

Publisher: Crown Lynn New Zealand Limited

© Rudolf Boelee 2013

Rudolf Boelee New Zealander, b.1940 Order (Seven essential strengths for NZ) 1998 Purchased, 1998 Reproduced wih permission Digital photomontage and two painted panels 98/105.1-3 1998

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu

Order – Collection Christchurch Art Gallery High Achievers – Private Collection Commitment - Private Collection Innovation - Private Collection Integrity - Private Collection Management - Private Collection Introduction – Artist Collection Employment - Artist Collection

Visions of Utopia By James Norcliffe Art New Zealand Autumn 1999

The images are from the exhibitions; "From the Cradle to the Grave" at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts Gallery and "The Future is Now" at the Centre of Contemporary Arts during 1998.

To begin with two anecdotes: One. In China in the late eighties, my wife Joan Melvyn and our children cycled across the city of Tianjin to see Superman II which had been released with Chinese subtitles. We had been living in China for over a year and this was a rare chance for the kids to see a Western film. The final scene of Superman, having saved the world from catastrophe, flying high above a gleaming cityscape holding Old Glory aloft to the strains of surging orchestral patriotism was so delightfully over the top it reduced Joan to helpless laughter. She was the only one in the packed auditorium to laugh. A couple of hundred local Tianjinese failed to detect any irony and stared with open-mouthed acceptance of the scene.

Two. Also in China. I was teaching English literature at Nankai University. Relatively late one evening there was a guarded knock at the door and a youngish man introduced himself. He had cycled several miles especially to talk to me because he had heard there was a Westerner teaching English and perhaps I could help him. He was from a technological university and studying science. His passion, however, was literature. He had looked around apprehensively and the situation became a little cloak and daggerish. Could I help him source some articles on a writer? Clearly the writer was somewhat subversive. Perhaps, I said. The Foreign Languages Department did have bibliographical resources into academic papers and journals. Who was it? Oscar Wilde, he whispered. Even in the China of Deng Xiao Peng , Oscar Wilde was a dangerous thinker. Art for art's sake was an insidious doctrine which could white ant at the foundations of what was normative, what was permitted, in Communist Chinese art and expression. It would have been good to have been able to introduce my unknown visitor (I never learnt his name) to Rudolf Boelee. At first glance they would seem to have little in common, and certainly between the aesthetics of Oscar Wilde and the aesthetics of Comrade Mao there is a substantial gulf. There is however a middle way between the monitory monuments of the state and the hands-behind-your back formalism of what could be termed meta-art. A host of middle ways, of course. Boelee's way is that of the engaged social critic and commentator. Both Boelee and the Chinese student were and are idealists. And their idealism lies in a deep suspicion of that which would deny expression, equality and security to members of society. Whereas the Chinese student was seeking an alternative to that which dictated that all public expression be filtered through correct state ideology (Oscar Wilde being about as far as he could

go), Boelee is motivated by a suspicion of the cynical imperatives of‌

the New Right and how those imperatives are subverting earlier visions of what the society could and should be. The Orwellian nightmare of a static society in which a boot is forever planted on the human face is one he fears. Rudolf Boelee was born in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, as the Second World War was engulfing Europe. His early memories include the sight of neighbours being forcibly taken away by the agents of an allpowerful state apparatus when the Netherlands was under Nazi occupation. After some years at sea he arrived in New Zealand in 1963, the heyday of the welfare state, and he came to enjoy the somewhat old-fashioned lifestyle and egalitarian qualities he found here, the relaxed enterprise of the do-it-yourself generation. His painting career began in the late sixties, and he began to exhibit sporadically through the seventies and eighties. The last few years however have seen an intensity of production and a series of important thematically linked exhibitions almost exclusively in South Island galleries. These shows have included Visions of Utopia, Things to Come, From the Cradle to the Grave, and just recently at the Centre of Contemporary Arts in Christchurch The Future is Now. The titles are significant, drawn variously from the ideas of the first NZ Labour Government of the 1930's, from H.G. Wells, and from George Orwell. The names of the exhibitions also reflect the poles of optimism and pessimism which inform Boelee's vision. Boelee's preoccupations centre on society, of society's past ideals and present realities, the what-might-have-been and the what-is, and the gulf between them. His works bring together images and occasionally texts that exemplify and comment. Boelee uses collage, scale, and colour to recontextualize and lead his viewers to reconsider his selected images, images which are a part, often, of our common background. The benign face of Michael Joseph Savage in both Visions of Utopia and From the Cradle to the Grave

smiles gently as it once did from tens of thousands of mantelpieces, but now coloured, enlarged, repeated, at times under a superimposed grid of geometric lines and arranged in a cruciform on a gallery wall. The railway cups, stolid and reassuring, and gone. The flag. Other images are drawn from that which was once precious and relatively private: lost photograph albums, forgotten pictorial fragments and text. Here the transformation into giant larger-than-life representations, often spread strip-fashion over several 'canvases' has the effect of generalising and identification, giving as much a charge of recognition as do the iconic images of Savage or Upham or Yvette Williams.

We know these people, these clothes, these shoes. Juxtaposed with the 1950's home grown, exemplified by the boy from Christchurch East school and the legs of the visitors to the Hawera Agricultural and Pastoral Show of the Cradle to the Grave, specifically in The Future is Now are the more monumental icons drawn from Fascist Italy's tributes to itself. These images and others are recontextualised with the "Seven Essential Strengths" for New Zealand drawn from a recent Ministry of Commerce manifesto/mission statement, and these strengths (integrity, innovation, commitment, et al) are themselves recontextualised by being laid over tukutuku patterns. Such inter-exhibition juxtapositions are reminders that in Boelee's case the succession of exhibited work we are not seeing the usual progression or development of an artist's style, but more significantly aspects of a total vision, a programme, perhaps. As in the axes of his trademark crosses, the shows present commentaries on the polarities of past and future, optimism and pessimism, idealism and cynicism. His exhibitions abound with linking devices: forms, notably the cross and square, and individual images, notably the Keith Murray derived modernist vase (by the original Crown Lynn). Superficially, it can be seen that Boelee's art draws from an eclectic mix of influences. The important Dutch movement de Stijl which influenced the Bauhaus is an obvious starting point, perhaps in its best-known exponent Piet Mondrian, echoes of whom are detectable in Boelee's fascination with pattern and geometric form. The geometric forms derive, too, from the Russian Constructivists, the innovative artists, sculptors and set designers of the period following the Russian Revolution. Boelee, too, has been interested in and involved in set design, notably for the Christchurch Free Theatre. In his use of repeated images and colour, suggestive of Warhol's silk screens, can also be seen the influence of the pop

movement, although Boelee would deny any connection with the detached and indulgent impulses of the Warhol Factory. The element in Boelee's art that is most striking, though, is his use of assemblage or collage. He brings together diverse elements all with their own connotations and fabricates striking visual metaphors. In many ways this is more akin to a literary, than an aesthetic device, and quite in keeping with Boelee's view that his art speak to viewers. In a blurb Boelee wrote for his The Future is Now he put it this way: "‌The work comments, exhorts, and elaborates on possible directions for improvements to our society‌" True to the collaborative instincts of de Stijl, much of Rudolf Boelee's recent work has been done in conjunction with designers and computer experts, Brian Shields and Craig Stapley, and he warmly acknowledges their contribution to the final shape of the finished work. The collective nature of this work allows Boelee to step back somewhat, ensuring that what it says about the issues is more important that what it says about him. "As I get older," he said in an interview printed in CoCA 9, "the ego becomes less and less important‌ That's why I like working with other people." With Shields and Stapley, Rudolf Boelee formed the company Crown Lynn New Zealand, a famous name resurrected as the possibility of using it as a return to the public domain. Their first major collaboration was the 1996 exhibition Crown Lynn New Zealand (A Salvage Operation) at the High Street Project Gallery, Christchurch, a series of retrieved and recontextualized images that were simultaneously reproduced and distributed in multiple postcardsized sets. The 1950's has been a rich source for Boelee. In many ways it has been the forgotten era, given the ongoing fascination with the Second World War and the equally magnetic appeal of the Sixties. In the fifties however, in its images and styles, Boelee has

discerned a simple optimism and decency which we would disdain at our peril, and in offering comparisons with what we have right now, dares to ask fascinating questions. It is generally considered smart to sneer at this period. Indeed, the imperative to be fashionable which assaults us from all sides demands we embrace only that which is about to be. The immediate and near past is turned over only for its comic and ironic possibilities. The quality in Rudolf Boelee's work that transcends these facile and cheap ironic possibilities, is the passion behind his vision. Boelee cares about the things we have lost, and frets about the direction the New Right seems to be taking us. He denies nostalgia. He demands we reconsider what once were the assumptions that shaped our society, and equally demands that we question what has replaced them. Rudolf Boelee does not supply any answers to the questions he raises, although he may hint from time to time. His work is too subtle to be crudely propagandist and he would not arouse the scorn, thereby, of my Chinese student. And if the problems confronting New Zealand as the millenium arrives are so insurmountable that only Superman, perhaps, could solve them, perhaps the Tianjinese had it right all along.

Between Worlds The contribution made to New Zealand art by Dutch immigrants is getting some long-overdue recognition. A selfconfessed ‘outside’, painter Rudolf Boelee talks to Anna Dunbar He has lived in Christchurch for 40 years but there are lingering moments when Rudolf Boelee feels like an outsider trapped in a long corridor extending between the old and the new. “Like most of my compatriots who came to New Zealand in the 1950‟s and early 1960‟s, life in New Zealand was initially alien and strange. The pressure to become like „them‟ was always there. Cultural diversity was certainly not celebrated,” the Dutch-born artist says. Boelee came to New Zealand as a merchant seaman in 1963. He was 22. “I couldn‟t wait to get out of Holland. Those post-war years were grim and it was hard to forget the pain and suffering that our cities and our people had endured. I came to New Zealand because

I had visited about five times before, and I liked what I had seen. I was following my heart. For those who had made that journey a decade before it was very different – many left loved ones and their hearts.” Boelee who describes himself as a painter (“whatever that means in today‟s practice”), takes pride in being part of a long line of Dutch artists living in New Zealand, but he regrets that their artistic contribution remains largely unacknowledged. “Few people know that the Dutch community is the largest minority group in New Zealand. Most are also unaware of the immense debt that is owed to artists such as Petrus van der Velden. Seeking to redress the balance and raise the rallying cry for young Dutch people living in New Zealand, Boelee is involved with a trio of exhibitions at the Centre of Contemporary Art. The shows including a travelling exhibition, “Inheriting the Netherlands”, featuring Boelee‟s work and that of 12 other artists of Dutch origin, including van der Velden, Theo Schoon, Miriam van Wezel, and Saskia Leek; and a tribute to the artist Petrus van der Velden:”Colour is Light, Light is Love, Love is God”, presented by Boelee with collaboration of painter Dennis de Visser, poet Koenraad Kuiper and writer and television presenter Boudewijn Buch. In the shows Boelee seeks to augment and elaborate on what it means for the inheritors of the Netherlands, to show what their contribution has been, and most importantly, encourage young Dutch people to retain and celebrate their culture. Boelee‟s own exhibition, “Postcard from Rotterdam”, travels back 60 years to his birth in May 1940, in the early stages of World War 2. “I was born in Rotterdam amidst an atmosphere of hatred and fear just after the Germans had completed their bombardment of the city. In just 45 minutes 60.000 people were left homeless. Fire surrounded the hospital as I was being born.” The works in the exhibition consist of treated photographs showing

outsider is no longer much of an issue. “The disappearance of the Dutch culture and language is a real concern, however, especially for the younger generations. It is now up to New Zealand to reach a maturity that truly appreciates the richness and diversity of its communities. For most of Dutch migrants who arrived in the 1950‟s, war had interrupted their education. They came to a new land unable to speak English and, in some cases, with a limited education. There were pressures to assimilate – to become New Zealanders, to get a job, and to establish a home.

Boelee‟s family surviving the brutality and cruelty of the German occupation. “My first conscious memories are of men being rounded up as forced labour for the Germans and people dying of hunger in our street.” The artist stresses that the exhibition is not antiGerman. “Everyone becomes compromised in some and the Germans more so than any other nation. Childhood memories of a cathartic, divisive war emerge in his paintings – including a triptych incorporating the haunting faces of the brothers Boelee accompanied by the bureaucratic banality of lines from post-war immigration policy.. The words and the portraits together emerge as a tribute to and lament for dreams lost and found. Boelee, meanwhile, shrugs off any lingering residue of alienation and isolation. „I realize how much of a New Zealander I am when I go back to Holland.. Yet here I see myself as a Dutchman. I feel as I am working in a corridor between New Zealand and the Netherlands. After four decades any personal feelings of being an

“Immigrations, no matter where they are from, are in a state of complete and continuous contradiction. You are always living in two places. It must have been especially difficult for those who came in those early days. It was 40 days sailing between, so you really knew you had come somewhere quite different,” Boelee says. “I lived in Sydenham when I first came and the car yards were full of V8; - I had never seen anything like except in the movies. So strange. Quite alien, but I really enjoyed the life here. I thought it was lovely. After he left there was an exodus of brothers and cousins to the United States and New Zealand, all seeking to escape what seemed then the very restricting environment of Europe. “Ironically, life in New Zealand was possibly even more conformist than it was back home, but everything was rather alien and slightly weird in a likeable way. The pre-war cars, 6 o‟clock closing, building your own home, the concrete, the races – it all seemed so innocent and nice.” Boelee hopes the exhibitions act as a rallying call for Dutch people in New Zealand. “Those who came out in the 1950‟s are really like a lost generation. Many of them even changed their names. It is not about nostalgia. I don‟t want to go back to Holland, but it is really

To do with saying that we are here, some of us more than 40 years, and have contributed much to the country with little acknowledgment.” He feels it is unfortunate that only one gallery in a major city was interested in holding the exhibition and that it had to be organized by an individual. “Dutch people have never been known to be difficult, even though they are the largest minority group. I certainly hope that these three shows will act as focus for the wider Dutch community and the community at large as well. I have the distinct feeling that being known as just good workers is a bit demeaning. “For me and many of the artists involved in this exhibition, there is this permanent position as „outsider‟. This in turn, tends towards a reliance upon memory, intent on avoiding alienation. I constantly seek and express a sense of self and identity in my work, hence the need to construct a certain „Dutchness‟. However, if I were to work in Holland it would be on New Zealand things. The Press, Wednesday, July 26, 2000

Catalogue for “Inheriting the Netherlands, a Century of Dutch Art in New Zealand”


Inheriting The Netherlands, a Century of Dutch Art in New Zealand

Lopdell House Gallery, Titirangi, Auckland Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui Hawkes Bay Exhibition Centre, Hastings Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch Eastern Southland Gallery, Gore Millenium Gallery, Blenheim Whangarei Art Museum, Whangarei Waikato Art & History Museum, Hamilton Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington

Petrus van der Velden, Ans Westra, Theo Schoon, Rudolf Boelee, Miriam van Wezel, Gerda Leenards, Leon van den Eijkel, Ronnie van Hout, Karin van Roosmalen, Saskia Leek, Monique Jansen / [organiser, Johan van Westen ; curator, Natasha Conland]

Rudolf Boelee 'A Postcard from Rotterdam' Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch 19 July - 6 August 2000 Text: Rudolf Boelee

The works in this exhibition consist of treated photographs and show my family surviving, the brutality and cruelty of the German Occupation. The marvellous normality of continuing to record family events, in the context of the deportation of the Jews and the infamous "Hunger Winter" 1944-1945, now appears quite incredible. My first conscious memories go back to the forcible removal of all males over eighteen and people dying of hunger in our street. ‘Postcard from Rotterdam' aims to give a personal as well as a universal view of those perilous times

Photographs: Dennis de Visser

A Postcard from Rotterdam' goes back in time almost exactly 60 years to May 1940, and the outbreak of World War 2 for the Netherlands. It was shortly after one of those unnecessary, catastrophic acts of violence, the bombardment of Rotterdam by the Germans, that I was born. Sixty thousand people were made homeless in just forty-five minutes.


Rudolf Boelee, Boudewijn Buch, Koenraad Kuiper, Dennis de Visser' Colour is Light, Light is Love, Love is God' (a tribute to Petrus van der Velden) Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch 19 July - 6 August 2000 Text: Esther Venning Photographs: Rudolf Boelee

Rudolf Boelee and Dennis de Visseraman pay homage to Petrus van der Velden in an exhibition strongly referencing his art. The work and teachings of Petrus van der Velden have had a significant and enduring effect on many artists in New Zealand. Born in the Netherlands in 1837, van der Velden worked with the famed Hague School of painters. He came to Christchurch in 1890 bringing his considerable talent and European artistic traditions. In New Zealand he became particularly well known for his raw and moody 'Otira Gorge' series. The exhibition title 'Colour is Light, Light is Love, Love is God', references a quote by van der Velden demonstrating his strong association of painting with spirituality. The exhibition's multidisciplinary perspective on van der Velden includes a Dutch documentary programme by the writer and presenter Boudewijn Buch and bi-lingual poems by Koenraad Kuiper.

History Repeating New Zealand House & Garden November 2002 Sally Blundell discovers a sense of the past in a Christchurch house that has changed for the future. Photographs: Doc Ross

One visit to the inner city gentleman’s residence was all it took for artists Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee to know they found their new home. just outside Christchurch’s four avenues, it would have once been one of many houses from the arts and crafts era sitting sedately on its quarter acre section. Rescued from the demands of in-dill housing and city commercialization, the house is a rare piece of Christchurch still in a remarkably original state. “What appealed to us was that the house hadn’t been altered at all.. The kitchen and bathroom were original. All the paneling was still there. Nothing had been updated,” says Robyne. Previous owners had painstakingly stripped back all the timber, however, leaving the rooms looking dark and dull.. At a time when renovators were waging war against any painted surfaces Robyne and Rudolf spent their first Christmas in the house painting. Using white, two shades of grey and coloured rectangles in the living room they developed a look that was clean, modern and in keeping with the timber floors stripped of their dark varnish and the extensive plant borders shielding the house from the street. “ As soon as we painted the walls the outside seemed to come in. You became aware of the garden. The effect was one large area instead of a series of smaller darker spaces,” says Robyne Rudolf’s digital works displayed on the walls of the living room and entrance pay tribute to his home city of Rotterdam, the war that ripped that ripped through his childhood - one work shows a forged Nazi pass used by his father to get meat and vegetables to feed his and the five other families living in their building - and the wartime influx of Dutch immigrants in this country. Other works, including the iconic New Zealand Railway Cups, draw on a post-war New Zealand, a young country turning with hope to a more settled and affluent future.. This, says Rudolf, was a new age of idealism, the legacy of the first Labour government of Michael Joseph -

Savage and the era of Crown Lynn Potteries, the then “crowning glory” of the ceramics industry in this country. “My brother Onno took me through the Crown Lynn factory in New Lynn just after it closed and Robyne had a large collection of their decorative and table wares. The company was another casualty of the deregulated nature of industry in this country but it had that touch of elegance and perfection. In 1994 Robyne and Rudolf acquired Crown Lynn’s former trademark. Crown Lynn New Zealand.. The name was later to be used in an exhibition with designers Brian Shields and Craig Stapley, celebrating the role art and design in Kiwi society.

The grace and style of the Crown Lynn era is echoed in the art, design and collectables in the house. They are a reflection of a shared New Zealand history and a tribute to the eclectic passions of two consummate collectors.

Their furniture, ceramics and objects cover the span of 20th century design. Kiwiana is evident - from the jigsaw of the map of New Zealand to the paua ornaments. In the dining room a recently purchased set of Denby ceramics has pride of place on a 1950’s sideboard. A 1970’s Poole china bowl sits on the 1960’s kitchen table.

Such items blend well with the modern sophistication of Robyne’s fabric designs - from the curtains on the lead light windows to the clothes on the steel display stand, these works build on a personal history of 1960’s church fairs and craft stalls, a family penchant for home-made decorative arts passed on to Robyne as a young girl.

As the need for a venue to market their art and design became more apparent the couple considered finding a place in the very heart of the city. But the comfort and practicality of home were hard to beat. “ We still wanted to be here,” says Robyne. “A lot of people were beginning to use older buildings for living and working in and we knew if we left here the developers would pull the house down or it would become flats. We worked too hard for that.” The conversion from home to home gallery and working place was relatively simple. A new wardrobe in the second bedroom - big enough for Robyne’s considerable collection of vintage fabric for clothing and accessories - and gallery lighting in the entrance and former main bedroom allowed for two exhibition areas. Customers now have the inestimable luxury of trying on Robyne’s design in a full -sized bedroom - with a coffee on the table. “Then we had to think of a name,” says Robyne. “Once the business was set up we didn’t want it to be Rudolf and Robyne’s house”. “Rudolf was working on his art and I was making clothes and printing fabric - we wanted to tie it all up. So we came up with Opshop.” It was a name that came with a fair amount of misinterpretation. Was it second-hand shop? No. An art auction? No. “We did not want a particular brand name and all along we have been involved in the whole philosophy of recycling - working with the environment, recycling ideas, recycling pieces of New Zealand history. It’s all about having a conscience and using what is around you. Opshop fitted in with that.” A series of exhibition openings and a new website helped launch the Opshop name and it continues to draw interest locally and internationally. And as the art of collecting becomes a domain populated by an increasing number of dealers.

Robyne and Rudolf’s concerns for holding on to what is precious in the environment has extended to lobbying against genetic engineering, maintaining a large garden and producing work that is in keeping with the timelessness of the modernist style.

Auckland apartment and Christchurch house in 2002 with NZR Cups

Crown Lynn New Zealand The Ambiguous Image- her dissatisfaction with her holiday, her surroundings and her life Billboard, Physics Room, Christchurch, 2000. Text: Rosemary Forde

A major public art project for the Physics Room in 2000, this temporary billboard was erected on the High Street side of the Physics Room building. The billboard was produced by Crown Lynn New Zealand – a collaborative team of artists and designers – in this instance including Rudolf Boelee, Maria Langley and Brian Shields The former trademark of Crown Lynn Potteries Limited was acquired by the artists in 1994, and has been used to present several projects since then, including the Ambiguous Image series. Once known as the crowning glory of the ceramic industry in New Zealand, in the postwar period Crown Lynn offered a stylish range

with a touch of elegance and modern perfection. The Ambiguous Image billboard uses a still from a 1960s new wave film – a visual style which has been an influence throughout much of Rudolf Boelee’s artistic career. The filmic element is blown up to cinematic proportions in the billboard, the dimensions and scale similar to that of a movie screen. But the image presented is a grainy close-up, distorting the image and rendering the billboard familiar yet indistinct. Although the image has been sourced from film, the style and the format of the billboard are equally suggestive of the visual language of advertising. Aping the methods of advertising, Boelee and Crown Lynn presented a visual statement for Christchurch without any commercial message. The text provides the only suggestion of narrative, evocative of a general malaise observed by the artist as an immigrant to New Zealand, that living here is regarded by many as an unsatisfying step towards some greater goal or a better place. Following on from this project, Crown Lynn produced The Ambiguous Image – figures in a mental landscape, a publication featuring 12 virtual billboards for Christchurch. And with a Physics Room exhibition in 2003, Boelee presents the third part of The Ambiguous Image – her dissatisfaction_, reworking the billboard and expanding the debate around living in Christchurch as an artist.

Rudolf Boelee New Zealander, b.1940 Treasure of the Nation 2000

In Treasure of the nation Boelee expresses his admiration for the older artist: a screenprint of van der Velden’s portrait is flanked either side by two prints of his Otira Gorge paintings. Boelee overlays van der Velden’s Otira landscapes with a series of colourful modernist rectangles – geometric divisions that provide a striking contrast. (Van der Velden: Otira, February 2011)

Gifted by the artist, 2002 Reproduced wih permission Acrylic, silkscreen and lacquer on wood 2002/259 2000

Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee present the exhibition: 'Snapping GE-free zones' The Physics Room, Christchurch The Press, 20 September 2001 By Anna Dunbar

Christchurch artists Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee have special places that they want to remain GE-free, and have captured them on film. Picking up on the actions of anti-GE campaigner (and former Thompson Twin) Alannah Currie, the pair initially intended to take a few photographs of friends and neighbours and send them to Currie for a proposed Beehive exhibition Voyce says."However, the more we spoke to people, the more things snowballed and we realised a Christchurch exhibition to coincide with the Wellington was necessary. We are dismayed that although most New Zealanders are against GE, many feel that nothing can be done to stop it. We think that an art exhibition, unlike protest rallies, can attract from a different type of audience - one that falls outside the unfair stereotype of crusty hemp-wearing hippies". Voyce and Boelee say they regard the exhibition more as a performance, an invite anyone to contribute before September 15. The photographic project and exhibition, 'TOMORROW', will be held for only one night in contemporary art project space the Physics Room. Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimmons will open the exhibition and speak about genetic engineering and the implications. Voyce and Boelee hope that after the exhibition the photographs will be presented to the Prime Minister Helen Clark.


Following pages; Green Party co-leader Janet Fitzsimmons with Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee.


Installation of “Staking our Claim” at Shed 11, Wellington


Run along to Runaway Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch 15 May - 1 June 2002 Review: Nicholas Gorman - The Citizen 29 May 2002 Photos: Inez Grim

The idea of a shared national identity is both problematic and pertinent. The idea of a “Kiwi identity” is tied up with all sorts of contradictions. Even though New Zealand is a relatively small country, it still has four million people who are both dysfunctional and diverse. It seems hard for us to reconcile our strands of diversity and weave them into a common identity. Rudolf Boelee‟s exhibition, Runaway, now showing at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Gloucester Street, attempts to explore different threads of our identity and bring them together in a common space - the concept of a marae. The Mair gallery on the top floor of CoCA has been

converted to what resembles the shape of a marae. The 10 large scale “ancestor paintings” are in fact digitally manipulated film stills, on the left side is a row of Maori faces that gaze across the gallery at a row of Pakeha faces. At the head of the marae is a triptych of light boxes with dates and images from contentious periods in our shared history: the Waterfront Strike of 1951 and the Springbok tour of 1981 and the “New Right‟ revolution in 1984. on either side of the entrance/exit is a diptych with and the acronyms “WTO” and “GE”, perhaps things that will become contentious and problematic in New Zealand‟s future. What we see is a combination of both European and Maori imagery and traditions, with the use of film stills and the space of the marae, the blend of popular culture and high art. In his outline and intent for Runaway, Boelee says, “I intend to look at the concepts such as the stereotype of „man alone‟, the portrayal of Maori as „other‟, the effects of the Springbok Tour on New Zealand society, and of the justified paranoia experienced about a number of environmental and political issues in present-day New Zealand.” I visited the gallery twice: once on the preview evening, with lots of speeches, bodies and free wine; the second on some wet afternoon with no one else in the gallery. Traipsing about on that cold day made me feel far more reflective, our country‟s shared ancestors keeping watch over me. It made me think about how we have defined ourselves through popular country. However, it is perhaps the space itself, the marae concept, which gives Boelee‟s show emotional resonance. Try to get along and see it before it closes. Runaway is at the Centre of Contemporary Art until June1.

* 'Runaway' received project funding from Creative New Zealand TOI AOTEAROA

Dispute over artwork By Martin van Beynen The Press, Saturday, May 25, 2002

A Christchurch exhibition designed to help Maori and pakeha to get on better has sparked an art worls controversy. The exhibition entitled Runaway, by Christchurch artist Rudolf Boelee, sets out a series of large photographic images of Maori and pakeha in a marae framework. It opened at the Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) about 10 days ago and is scheduled to be shown in Whangarei, Gisborne and Rotorua. The images were taken from two books published by Victoria University Press about films made

by New Zealand film-maker John O’Shea. Boelee took faces of the actors from the books and manipulated them to create a new work of art which has been lauded as beautiful and respectful. But the New Zealand Film Archive does not see it quite like that. The archive looks after the original John O’Shea footage and stills on behalf of the copyright owner, Pacific Films, and believes Boelee breached protocol and copyright. Client access co-ordinator Bronwyn Taylor said Boelee had approached the archive in January but after being told of the requirements regarding copyright and consultation with Maori had ceased “dialogue” “our concern was that no permission had been sought or given,” she said. In its guardianship role the archive had tried to ensure CoCA attributed the images correctly to include the publications they were lifted from, she said. “It seems quite clearly a copyright issue. We supply galleries and exhibitions all the time and they work with us in obtaining the appropriate clearances,” she said. CoCA director Warren Feeney said he stood by Boelee, whose integrity remained intact. “It happens all the time at every gallery around the world every day of the week. Because it’s going into a gallery and none of the works are for sale I would argue the integrity of Rudolf is pretty well intact. He is not making any financial gain. Behind this there is nothing but good intentions.” The work fitted “very much in the context” of what Boelee had done previously. “If they had put them (the images) on shopping bags I think I would be worried about them,” he said. Advice on the Maori issues suggested relatives of the people in the images should have been consulted and a “ritual cleansing” should have taken place, he said. Maori would see the images as images of real people and find it difficult to view the exhibition, the advice had said. Images of dead ancestors

were problematic. The archive had phoned him every day to emphasise he was not taking the issue seriously enough, Mr. Feeney said. “Rudolf’s feeling was that the Film Archives was doing what a typical bureaucracy does. Instead of being there to serve the public and making visible the films of John O’Shea they were stopping people. It comes down to that.” Pacific Films director Craig Walters said while he felt Boelee should have got permission first from the company; he would not be taken legal action. Boelee declined to discuss the matter yesterday.

The Press, Thursday May 30, 2003 – OPINION Film copyright Sir – What a crazy world we live in. Rudolf Boelee (May 25) is attacked by the New Zealand Film Archive for breaching copyright and not consulting Maori about using ancestral images of both Maori and pakeha actors from John O’Shea films. Why is it that only Maori descendants need to be consulted? Do they have to be consulted before any showing of John O’Shea films? How thoroughly did O’Shea himself consult before making the films? Are descendants of Mona Lisa consulted before her image is displayed? Are the Queen and the Prime minister consulted before their images are used in newspaper cartoons aiming not to honour, but to satirise?

Surely Boelee’s superb, non-commercial images honour both Maori and pakeha and draw them together on the marae of his creation. The laws of copyright are clear; the rest is political correctness gone mad. These healing images are magnificent. D.J. McAra Cashmere, May 25

The whole Runaway exhibition saga certainly affected me really badly. The problems of getting large scale exhibitions like this one to become a reality are difficult enough. What I had not encountered before was such a response from these ‘gate keeping’ bureaucrats in Wellington, naïve of me not to realize this from the outset. I was busy teaching at the Design & Arts College in Christchurch and at the same time working on projects like the GE Free and Runaway shows. Under the Red Verandah was a café (the original building was destroyed during the February 22nd earthquake) that had interesting exhibitions staged by co-owner Roger Hickin. So making 20 or so small to medium size collage works was a really nice diversion from being portrayed as ‘ignorant and culturally insensitive’…

'her dissatisfaction' An exhibition by Rudolf Boelee in collaboration with: Matthew Ayton, Stu Buchanan, Dougall Canard, Maria Langley, Roy Montgomery, Christine Rockley, Brian Shields, Robyne Voyce. The Physics Room, Christchurch 26 March - 17 April 2003 Review: Keiller MacDuff Photographs: Inez Grim

The gallery was stiflingly hot, and the crush was on for gin and tonic. Greeted by the authentic tones of legendary Christchurch jazz musicians, Stu Buchanan and Dougall Canard, who were providing the soundtrack, I proceeded to search everywhere for Rudolf's exhibition. It's not that I hadn't seen the huge billboard. Recognised it, in fact, as the same dissatisfied heroine who had graced the exterior of the Physics Room in 2000. But I was looking for his distinctive brand of New Zealand modernism - the instantly recognizable pop art pieces, the brightly coloured screen prints, the Kiwiana and the insistent repetition. This time the billboard shows more of the waif, slightly less supersized than the outdoor version but still cinematic and grainy, the eye drawn to the almost obscene exposure of the intimacy of the nape of her neck. Somehow you can almost taste the melancholy, the resignation and the eponymous dissatisfaction, but this time, we were witness to her weapon - this is extreme dissatisfaction. In one room there was a video, a matey front porch discussion between the artist and musician and writer Roy Montgomery. They share a beer and spin yarns, talk about the old days. The video is looped, echoing the circularity those nostalgic conversations can take. The third part of The Ambiguous Image, 'her dissatisfaction_' is collaboration by Rudolf Boelee and Crown Lynn New Zealand Collective, which relocated aspects of earlier exhibitions into the Physics Room, and into more of a personal trajectory into Rudolf's life, environment and influences. Far from his native Holland, Rudolf Boelee ended up in Christchurch in the late 1970's. The synchronicity of things soon had him moving in the same circles as a variety of other like-minded souls. It was during this time that he met partner Robyne Voyce.

Rudolf met people living their lives through their bedroom fantasies, living in their heads, through their headphones, their music collections, their dissatisfaction with suburban Christchurch. Trapped in suburbia, lost in their own worlds, these people found solace in music, art, theatre, in a unity of purpose and aesthetic. In the exhibition there are allusions to pop culture, cinema and music, from the jazz band playing at the opening, to the confluence of Boelee's arrival in Christchurch with a flourishing punk music scene. The cinematic theme of the billboard combines with the documentary-style filmed conversation, the jazz soundtrack, and the virtual billboards displayed. This aspect of the exhibition, ten photographs of local buildings onto which virtual billboards were placed are real Christchurch buildings, not tourist monuments to our gothic heritage, but office buildings, utilitarian high rises, reimagined with giant billboards, bearing seminal scenes from new wave cinema instead of advertising slogans and consumerables. The shows are an attempt to explain something. All exhibitions are the staging of something, a cumulative gig. And the gig is something else, something always unknowable. Rudolf told me that the art exhibition is ultimately a selfish act - the show as therapy - but to me the themes of the exhibition were more universal - a love story, an ode to friendship, longing and belonging.

'The Middle Way: Christchurch Meets Bangkok, Bangkok Meets Christchurch' Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch, 11 November - 19 December 2003 By Christopher Moore, The Press, November,12, 2003 Photograhs: Robyne Voyce and David McKenzie

One day in Bangkok, Rudolf Boelee encountered a gallery of extraordinary artworks: creations which fused images and ethics from one of the world's oldest spiritual beliefs with the potency of contemporary art. The impact of that exhibition by these Thai artists never left the Christchurch painter's mind. Boelee soon began discussing the possibilities of an exchange exhibition between Thailand and New Zealand, initially with the director of the Arts Centre of Bangkok's Silpakorn University, Vichoke Mukhdamanee and later with co-curator Dr. Lertsiri Bovornkitti.The long months of planning, mostly by email, has resulted in a new exhibition, The Middle Way, at Christchurch's Centre of Contemporary Art. Members of the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts at Silpakorn University and the faculty of Fine Arts at Christchurch's Design and Arts College of New Zealand will combine forces to cross cultural and geographical boundaries. Thailand's Buddhist art has been one of the pinnacles of Asian art for centuries: a richly creative expression of faith and devotion; one which combines harmony with subtle textures and forms. In the 21st century, it continues to be a living, evolving force in a country where 95 per cent of Thais are devoutly Buddhist and Buddhism pervades every part of daily life. In the 1980's, Thai art, especially painting entered a new phase, one that went back to religious art of previous centuries, Boelee says. Artists were reinterpreting Buddhism and its iconography to seek a more mature understanding of man's role in the cosmos. In the process they were developing a style of modern art which was unique to Thailand. My most vivid impression of Thailand was experiencing the role that Buddhism plays in all facets of Thai life. I hope to actively seek involvement from the Thai community to make an exhibition like this a real focus for cultural diversity in Christchurch.The emphasis on a foreign religion like Buddhism might appear strange from a New Zealand perspective.

Works by 10 Thai and New Zealand artists: Vichai Sithiratn, Vichoke Mukdamanee, Saravudth Duangjumpa, Amrit Chusuwan, Panya Vijinthanasarn, Rudolf Boelee, Victoria Edwards , Michael Collins, Ina Johann, Tony Bond, will feature in the exhibition, which Boelee sees as a reinforcement of the city's growing diversity.The opening ceremony will involve monks from the Wat Buddha Samakhee, the Thai Buddhist centre in Marshlands Road and a long drum dance choreographed by dancer and teacher Sittichai Pornpichayanarak and will be opened by HE Mr. Norachit Sinhanseni, Ambassador of Thailand. The exhibition will then travel to Bangkok in January 2004 where it will open at Silpakorn University's art gallery.

Rudolf Boelee Thai/New Zealand exchange exhibition initiator, coordinator and co-curator


The Middle Way / Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch Art Centre, Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand Eastern Art Centre, Burapha University, Thailand Chiang Mai University Art Gallery, Chiang Mai, Thailand Thaksiri University Art Gallery, Songkhla, Thailand Randolph Street Gallery, Auckland

Nieuw Zeeland An exhibition by Rudolf Boelee PaperGraphica, Christchurch, 13 June - 2 July 2005 Text: Marian Maguire Photographs: Robyne Voyce The Dutch were the first Europeans known to have reached New Zealand, led by Abel Janszoon Tasman, who sailed up the west coast of the South and North Islands in 1642. Like his countryman so many years before him, Dutch/New Zealand artist Rudolf Boelee has also been exploring aspects of his adopted land. In these new works Boelee covers a number of themes from portraiture and human endeavour to conservation and in each his trademark stylishness elegantly supports the idea. Bold striped colours in close tonal range glow through the imagery, some sections of which break down into fields of texture. In this way the work can operate on more than one level. All the works in the show are diptychs, often with repeat imagery. Does this mean 'Take another look' or 'There is more than one way to view this image'? Perhaps it refers to repeated patterns in history. In any case the effect of this juxtaposition is to create a dynamic composition which satisfies the eye, encouraging it to roam.

'Sink the Rainbow Warrior!' Rudolf Boelee 10 July, 1985 / 2006 PaperGraphica, Christchurch 11 July - 5 August 2006 Text: Marian Maguire

The Rainbow Warrior was the flagship of the international environmental organisation, Greenpeace. It had been in port at Auckland for three days and was scheduled to lead a fleet of vessels to Muroroa Atoll in protest against the French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. It never made that voyage. Just before midnight on 10 July, 1985, two explosions rocked the harbour, sinking the forty metre Rainbow Warrior. Underwater charges had been placed by French frogmen blowing two holes in the vessel’s hull. The ship sank almost immediately. All the crew managed to escape, apart from the photographer, Fernando Pereira, who drowned.

Review: Georgina Barr Photographs: David McKenzie

Twenty one years later, Monday the 10th of July, 2006, Rudolf Boelee's exhibition “Sink the Rainbow Warrior!” (21) opens at PaperGraphica. The work in the installation presents a series of portraits of the French agents involved, the victim and background information about the incident. The Rainbow Warrior bombing was the first time an act of international state-sponsored terrorism had been committed in New Zealand. It marked the end of our sense of security through isolation and the beginning of an era in which we have been forced to acknowledge that world politics, whether they are expressed through terrorism or environmental threat, can impact directly upon us. Boelee believes that the content of this exhibition is highly relevant today; that twenty one years on we have come of age and must look forward with maturity. The major powers obsession with nuclear arms and the more recent sanctimonious “War on Terror” are continuing to threaten the peace, stability and ultimately the future of our planet.

Sink the Rainbow Warrior!' (21) Reviewer: Georgina Barr

textures, along with the black backgrounds and the use of hessian on board, produces a rough and sinister side to the subjects depicted

'Sink the Rainbow Warrior!' by Rudolf Boelee is a thoughtful exhibition by an intelligent and insightful artist. Boldly coloured and subtly shaded faces hang on the walls of PaperGraphica. Some stare out into the middle distance and attempt at making a connection while others avoid eye contact and turn away. These seven acrylic portrait paintings - displaying those involved in the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior 21 years ago - are evenly placed around the warm main gallery and make a quiet, almost secretive atmosphere within the large room. All of the two large and five medium sized paintings have black backgrounds and each face is painted with white and only one other colour. In each work, the thick, block colour of the hair contrasts with the subtlety of soft tonal shading of the skin to create wonderful depth. The mix of

The thick textures are also a change from the smoothness of the artist's well-known screenprints. This fresh angle to art-making shows the artist is comfortable working in different styles, and he does so with clever ease. 'Sink the Rainbow Warrior!' is a great example of good art. Both the technique used to create the paintings and the artist's intension behind the work show thoughtful talent. According to a recent newspaper survey, the majority of New Zealanders are not concerned about terrorist actions (such as the recent train bombings in India) occurring here. The intension behind

Boelee's exhibition is to advise caution in this lackadaisical outlook and to advise New Zealanders not to forget.

The intelligence and depth of this exhibition fits well within PaperGraphica's walls. This art gallery and printmaking studio has created a relaxed environment that inspires and educates with every visit

10 July, 1985

"I Want What She's Got !" Robyne Voyce & Rudolf Boelee NG Gallery, 6 June -7 July, 2007 Text: Bill Dudley

Robyne Voyce "Fabric Constructions" For fabric artist Robyne Voyce, this new body of work continues on themes and directions she employed in her 2004 exhibition "Bryndwr 17". That show marked a journey back in time to early childhood in order to make sense out of the present. Voyce's previous vocation as a furniture and fashion designer and her careful treatment of fabrics continue to inform her artistic practice.

Images: Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee Christchurch artists Robyne Voyce and Rudolf Boelee present their new exhibition "I Want What She's Got !" at NG gallery. The title of the show refers to the eternal quest for the desirable and the glamorous. The exhibition is the latest in a series of shows by the pair, dating back to 1997.

The works for "I Want What She's Got !" are a series of multi panel Op Art inspired vintage fabric compositions, highly polished, with fine attention to detail. Op Art also referred to as geometric abstraction or hard-edge abstraction. This style was derived from

the constructivist practices of the Bauhaus. The nineteen twenties German school, founded by Walter Gropius, stressed the relationship of form and function within a framework of analysis and rationality. For Robyne Voyce, her works are dominated by the same concerns of figure-ground movement. Her approach is more sculptural then painterly, in the way the original vintage fabric designs have been re-assembled in unexpected and powerful compositions.

This is a very strong exhibition that shows the artist in control of her media, well conceived in its installation, with a great feel for integrating her works into the multi-purpose use (cafe and high fashion) of the space.

Rudolf Boelee "Film Stills" From a young age, artist Rudolf Boelee has been hugely affected by film and this interest has influenced a large part of his work. His images seem like stills from 1940's "Film Noir" or "Nouvelle Vague" - "New Wave" from the 1960's, the grainy appearance of his works enhances this effect. Inspired by the vitality of the Hollywood B movies, originating in the United States, employing heavy shadows and patterns of darkness, in which the protagonist dies, meets defeat, or achieves meaningless victory in the end. The painted grid works for "I Want What She's Got!" are a continuation on similar themes explored in the multimedia "The Ambiguous Image" series of projects. As an adolescent Rudolf Boelee was more interested going the cinema then attending his high school. Seeing and identifying with films by Franรงois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Alain Robbe-Grillet and JeanPierre Melville. These film makers, from a slightly older generation, became his artistic role models in a post war the Netherlands. Like France, the Netherlands was an occupied country during the second world war unlike say England or the USA, and the experience of austerity and internal tensions, created by a population that on the whole resisted and in part collaborated with the Nazis, left a mark on the country's psyche. A distinctive philosophy - existentialism - evolved in France and later in other European countries in the post-war years. This philosophy, associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and other French intellectuals, was a major influence on the New Wave. Existentialism stressed the individual, the experience of free choice, the absence of any rational understanding of the universe and a sense of the absurdity in human life. Faced with an indifferent world an existentialist seeks

to act authentically, using free will and taking responsibility for all their actions, instead of playing preordained roles dictated by society. The characters in French New Wave films are often marginalized, young anti-heroes and loners, with no family ties, who behave spontaneously, often act immorally and are frequently seen as anti-authoritarian. The paintings in "Film Stills" are echoes of these formative experiences, recasting characters from films as diverse as: "Alphaville", "Pickpocket", "Last Year in Marienbad", "Persona", "Trans-Europe Express", "Vivre sa Vie", "Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle" into a cinematic frieze and Boelee intentions are to blend his works in with the theatrical high fashion presentation of NG design. This exhibition also neatly completes a circle, back to his earlier (1981) exhibition "The Girl Can't Help it"

Rewi Alley

Geoffrey Cox

James Bertram

John Mulgan

Charles Brasch

Robin Hyde

Not all of these seven New Zealanders are widely known; their individualism and idealism sometimes put them at the fringes of colonial culture. They have been selected by the artist for their ability to see beyond the confines of that culture. All of them travelled, engaged with the world beyond these shores, exiled themselves. With the advantage of education, they then spoke thoughtfully and eloquently about the human condition. Most, apart from Rewi Alley, were born at about the time of the First World War so their experiences through the Depression and the Second World War had a profound effect on them. But the link is more than generational. Highly intelligent, sensitive and observant they used their creativity to promote the greater good; in most cases, through literature.

EXILES - Rudolf Boelee Text: Marian Maguire

Charles Brasch, Robin Hyde, Dan Davin, Rewi Alley, James Bertram, Geoffrey Cox, John Mulgan

Rudolf Boelee was born in Holland in 1940 so has a personal understanding of how world events can impact upon the lives of people. Seeing his homeland ravaged by war he chose to live in this country, the New Land, in a youthful search for utopia. In selecting these seven Exiles he identifies the need to look beyond regionalism at the wider issues for humanity. Rudolf Boelee has painted these portraits as bold chiaroscuro heads that completely dominate the coarse weave of the hessian surface. Each portrait is painted from a photograph. The backgrounds are dark; solid black. Light radiates off the facial planes in sharp contrast. Facial shadows are painted in a single flat colour, a different colour for each person, so although the images are bold, almost confrontational, the features are flattened, increasing the drama. The impression of each person, the idea of them, resounds more strongly than their physical reality.

Like many other works by Boelee the paintings flash like stills from film noir and create curiosity about the moments before and afterwards. Each of the Exiles had a full and active life and, aside from Geoffrey Cox, have all died. Despite the solidity of their achievements it is hard not to think that their lives, albeit intense, were fleeting. In the words of James Bertram, "Hard to explain now just how strongly we all felt in those days. But it wasn't just politics, rather, a sort of evangelical sense of mission, of not allowing oneself to become contaminated and absorbed into the establishment".

EXILES PaperGraphica, Christchurch, 2007 Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, 2008 Southland Museum & Art Gallery, Invercargill, 2008 Eastern Southland Gallery, Gore, 2008 Millenium Public Art Gallery, Blenheim, 2008 Flagstaff Gallery, Devonport, Auckland, 2009 Rotorua Art & History Museum, Rotorua, 2009 Whangarei Art Museum, Whangarei, 2010

Installation Images from previous pages; Rotorua Art & History Museum, Rotorua, 2009 Millenium Public Art Gallery, Blenheim, 2008, Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, 2008

Robyne opened Pug Design Store during August 2008 in this wonderful looking building. Eclectic would be a good word for what we stocked. We made a lot of things we sold ourselves and it was a good little business for two years until the Christchurch City Council decided to take our parking and killed Pug and the other thriving businesses around us. We closed in the beginning of September days before first major 2010 earthquake. The building was moderately damaged but did not survive the 22nd of Febuary 2011 one, and is now one of the many ‘vacancies’ in inner city Christchurch.



been collection Post-War ceramics since the early eighties so it was all part of a continuum. I applied for their trademark - Crown Lynn

By Adrienne Rewi.

New Zealand – incorporated the name as a limited liability company in 1993. A few years later I also incorporated a „new‟

Christchurch artists, Rudolf Boelee and his wife, Robyne Voyce are

Crown Lynn Potteries Limited that I have since sold, but we still

breathing new life into the iconic New Zealand pottery brand, Crown

own Crown Lynn New Zealand Limited

Lynn. The pair has developed a new range of Crown Lynn tea-

exhibited a number of painting series featuring Crown Lynn imagery

towels, cushions and cards depicting three of the company‟s most

and the latest – a suite of lithographs - will show at Papergraphica

famous images – the swan, the New Zealand Railways cup and the

in Christchurch in November. “Crown Lynn had a very egalitarian

Ernie Shufflebottom-designed hand-potted vase. For Boelee, it is

approach and that‟s what I liked most when I arrived in New

the perfect extension of his use of the images in his own paintings

Zealand from Holland in 1963. Many of the products veered

and a continuation of his passion for “the first New Zealand factory

towards the kitsch but they also have a simple formality that has

company to step beyond the humdrum” and make what has

endured and many New Zealanders now recognise that. It was

become a highly collectible product. Boelee owns the former Crown

made in New Zealand and not much of that quality was back then.

Lynn New Zealand trademark as a limited liability and likens its

The tea-towels and cushions continue that philosophy – they‟re a

discovery to “finding the very best vase in a junk shop for next-to-

way for people to own an affordable piece of the Crown Lynn


brand.” Screen printed on cotton in cobalt blue and white, the tea-

“Back in the early 1990s I was working in the New Zealand

towels feature the Crown Lynn logo and are available in galleries

Companies Office as a compliance clerk. My job was to strike

and design stores from Auckland to Invercargill.

he says. He has since

companies off the register when they had ceased trading. Company closures were notified in the New Zealand Gazette and that‟s where I saw the Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd name listed. Robyne and I had


Affordable paintings of comic book heroines Lady Snowblood and Modesty Blaise were some of my contributions

Here are the Railway Cup Tapestries that I wove in collaboration with Rudolf Boelee back in 2004 or thereabouts. Rudolph and I chose the colours together. He gave me a black and white drawing of the Railway Cup and I used that as the cartoon for the work. They are hanging in the stairwell of my studio in the Arts Centre of Christchurch. Seeing Rudolf’s posting this morning of his Railway Cup screen prints inspired me to post these images of the tapestries Marilyn Rae-Menzies

Sold to a private collector in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, early 2013


Disturbance in the Gallery - The Painting of Rudolf Boelee - Part 2  

“Dutch people have never been known to be difficult, even though they are the largest minority group. I certainly hope that these three show...

Disturbance in the Gallery - The Painting of Rudolf Boelee - Part 2  

“Dutch people have never been known to be difficult, even though they are the largest minority group. I certainly hope that these three show...