studio catherine griffiths


An installation on an installation on an installation ...


»SOLO IN [ ] SPACE« is an ‘installation on an installation on an installation’—works made over time and space, reconfigured, re-contextualised and responsive. It is a marker, fragments from an evolving series of works, large and small, that span wide, shoot off on tangents, make sense on examination, where dots join and a typographic thread weaves—nothing comes out of a vacuum—a mapping out. This marker is first indicated through a window installation of white lines and circles: gestural, expressive, and with intent.

What appears abstract outside on The Space gallery window is revealed inside, pinned to the wall, an unfolded 4 metre long drawing »So far: a map of projects, a drawing« (2016). This mapping out of projects traces the interrelationships of common language (sound and graphic), spatial shift (public/private), and atmosphere (calm to chaotic), found across more than a decade of these conceptions.

This Shanghai installation came as a surprise. Although less so to be invited by Zhihua Duan, whose generosity I recognised at the 2017 Porto Design Summer School where I was guest tutor alongside Andrew Howard, Hamish Muir and David Pearson. As it turned out, Zhihua had already encountered my practice when I delivered a talk in Melbourne several months before, at the 2017 International Symposium on Typography curated by Brad Haylock (RMIT, NGV).

Months after Porto, and before SOLO was a glint in the eye, I was invited to participate in the Shanghai Art & Visual Design Exhibition. I installed »Work/ Space«, elements from my vowel-based installations, including a large-scale drawing of a recently deployed (in even larger-scale, eight metres tall) vowel work »Collidescape« commissioned for Te Kei, a new building by Athfield Architects at Ara Campus, Ōtautahi Christchurch. Then Zhihua beckoned, in his words, “… the show in my mind would be a space filled by abundant works,images, archives, and maybe also include sound and video, to make it as a< contextual or narrative space for visitors to read rather [than] a space to show a series of design results?”.

When I gaze back on the public lectures and workshops, installations and commissions over the past twenty years, I recognise each has come unsolicited, out of the blue. But always, there is context, a reason, whether past connection, chance encounter, series of encounters, or happenstance. Being receptive and open, being present and listening, with a focus on both the detail and wider picture, through the act of making, of doing, conveying.

From artist books (labours of love, self-published) to magazine and newspaper interventions (participatory); mixed media installations to private/ public art commissions (invitational, art-based practice); protest in-the-guiseof type specimen posters (self-initiated activism) to letterform construction and project mapping (investigative-based practice) … I resolved to treat »SOLO IN [ ] SPACE« as yet another iteration, an installation on an installation on an installation.

The exhibition extended a month into a late, golden Shanghai Autumn … and then Covid-19 struck, »SOLO IN [ ] SPACE«, a poignant and pertinent marker.

How to make sense of this journey? Stories for another time. This moment is for the post-exhibition book, a documentation, to launch at the 2021 UNFOLD Shanghai Art Book Fair.

In this book are five short essays — poetic, meditative, observational — by Leonardo Sonnoli (Italy), Liza Enebeis (Netherlands), Masayoshi Kodaira (Japan), Anastasia Genkina (Russia) and Scarlett Xin Meng (China). As well, from my archive of selected writing, Gregory O’Brien’s Body, Mind, Somehow: The Text Art of Catherine Griffiths for Art New Zealand’s 150th issue (2014), and a review of »AEIOU, a typo/sound installation« (2009) by curator, writer and researcher Dr Mercedes Vicente, give clues and insights into what simply cannot be gathered in this one space, this moment in time.

»catherine griffiths : SOLO IN [ ] SPACE« A documentation is another step in my practice.


Catherine Griffiths / September 2021


04 writing & critique


An installation on an installation on an installation ...
Artist statement, »catherine griffiths : SOLO IN [ ] SPACE« A documentation, Pocca, CHINA
September 2021

Porto Design Summer School 2017
Looking back on the fifth edition
April 2018

Notes from ‘Designing the perfect photobook’
A short talk as part of a panel discussion, PhotobookNZ
March 2016

A meditation
Sir Ian Athfield, 1940 — 2015
by Catherine Griffiths
Architectural Centre, NZ
April 2015

The Design Kids interview
The Design Kids, Jul 2015

A Playlist : CG >> CG
by Catherine Griffiths
DPAG Late Breakfast Show, NZ, Aug 2014

Body, Mind, Somehow: The Text Art of Catherine Griffiths
by Gregory O’Brien
Art New Zealand #150, NZ, 2014

Nothing in Mind
by Chloe Geoghegan
typ gr ph c, Aug 2014

typ gr ph c in Strips Club
by Catherine Griffiths
Strips Club journal, Mar 2014

In the Neighbourhood
by Catherine Griffiths
Desktop #294, Australia, 2013

Interview by Heath Killen
Desktop #294, Australia, 2013

FF ThreeSix
by Catherine Griffiths
Typographica, Mar 2013

A note on the D-card
by Catherine Griffiths
Apr 2013

Shes Got Legs
by Lee Suckling
Urbis, NZ, Jan 2013

Truly, No Idea
by Catherine Griffiths
for Flash Forward, Desktop, Australia, Nov 2012

Look for the purple lining
by Catherine Griffiths
Eye Blog, UK, Mar 2012

The Big Idea, NZ, Jun 2011

Shots in the air
by Catherine Griffiths
Eye Blog, UK, Jan 2011

John & Eye
by Catherine Griffiths
ProDesign 110, NZ, Jan 2011

Quite a Blast
by Catherine Griffiths
ProDesign, NZ, Jan 2011

Inner-City Modality
by Mercedes Vicente
ProDesign, NZ, Aug 2010

Beautiful World of Typography
by Catherine Griffiths
excerpt from a talk, Govett-Brewster Gallery, NZ, Jun 2009

For the record
by Catherine Griffiths
Introduction to TypeSHED11, NZ, Feb 2009

Locating Our Feet
by Catherine Griffiths
Threaded, NZ, Oct 2008

Notes on Feijoa
by Catherine Griffiths
ProDesign, NZ, Apr 2007

Life in Italics
by Helen Walters
Print, New York, Sep-Oct 2006

Writing by Types
by Justine Clark
Artichoke, Australia, Apr 2003

An installation on an installation on an installation ...

by Catherine Griffiths / September 2021

published in »catherine griffiths : SOLO IN [ ] SPACE« A documentation

Artist statement, prefaces A documentation of »catherine griffiths : SOLO IN [ ] SPACE«, a survey of selected works exhibited at The Space Gallery, Shanghai, 2019. Published on the two-year anniversary of the exhibition, and launched at the 2021 UNFOLD Shanghai Art Book Fair with artist talk hosted by Bananafish Books.

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