Today I listened to a talk by Heather Galbraith, curator of Tender is the Night at The City Gallery in Wellington.
Tender is the Night gave me a great deal of pleasure, more than any other exhibition I have seen at The City Gallery for a few years now. After seeing this exhibition that explores aspects of love; desire, longing...I was (appropriately) spent and could not go to another exhibition for a few weeks.
The exhibition was obviously beautifully curated - rich and lacking in dogma - in a way that was deeply refreshing. I go drawing at Te Papa frequently and the often didactic curating there can be very tiring.
Heather explained the genesis of the exhibition, taking us through the movies (Bergman), songs (Blur), poems (Alastair Te Ariki Campbell & Meg Campbell) and ephemera (smutty playing cards) that contributed to her response. Nick Cave's love song lecture was a revelation!
Heather had decided not to include these references within the exhibition, thank heavens, so the thinking behind the exhibition informed - rather than crudely signposting - the selection of art.
The primacy of emotion was not just respected by the curator, but embraced as part of her curatorial responsibility - always searching for saudade and duende, and this was what finally made this such a powerful exhibition.