Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Kim Pieters: what is a life?


Published 2015 by Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
76 pages
298mm x 210mm, hardcover, black and white
Edited by Christina Barton
With contributions from Christina Barton, Hamish Clayton, Gregory Kan and Carl. A. Mears. Published with the support of the Adam Art Gallery Programme Development Fund.
Design by Matthew Galloway
Printed by Southern Colour Print
ISBN 978-1-877309-31-1

what is a life? brought together paintings, drawings, photographs, and moving-image soundscapes by artist Kim Pieters (born 1959, New Zealand). Surveying her output since 2007, it focused on the range of works she has been producing in and from her inner harbour studio in central Dunedin.

To ask the question ‘what is a life?’ is to test the deepest purposes of being an artist. For Pieters, this is a necessary interrogation that informs her engagement with material reality. Informed by her readings in philosophy, poetry, literature, and history she explores the space between her life world and the conscious processes that grant meaning to the facts of living. Her resulting art works are improvisatory and open-ended. They require responses that are together mental, perceptual, and sensuous, and posit answers to the ‘big’ question that sit alongside empirical, metaphysical, or logical ways of knowing.

Since 1993, Kim Pieters has lived and worked in Dunedin, where she is an integral figure in the art and experimental music scenes.  For more than two decades, her paintings and drawings have been included in exhibitions throughout New Zealand and, through the 1990s, she was known for her bass playing and vocals in underground ensembles such as Dadamah, Rain, Flies inside the Sun, Pieters/Russell/Stapleton, DoraMaar and Sleep. In performance, these often featured Pieters’ moving-image projections. With musician, writer and curator, Peter Stapleton, she founded the Metonymic music label and, in 2000, began the Dunedin experimental music festival ‘Lines of Flight’.

This exhibition was the first to bring together the full range of Pieters’ practice and her first survey in a public institution.