Auckland Art Fair Projects – Billy Apple®
From the Collection 2018, site-specific vinyl installation
The From the Collection series began in 1987 with a painting commissioned by the Bank of New Zealand. Since then, it has attracted a broad range of corporate, private, and public clients. Each work in the series is commissioned by a collector, whether individual or collective, operating at once as a provenance marker, a portrait of the patron, and a frontispiece to the collection. The client works with Billy Apple® to have the piece personalised with their choice of colours, logos, materials, and so on, while also merging with the artist’s own brand and its characteristic ‘look and feel’.
For Projects 2018, Apple has created a site-specific vinyl installation similar to a billboard. As is so often the case with his work, the precise nature of the gesture remains elusive. On the one hand, the artist seems to exploit the commercial context of Auckland Art Fair, advertising the series and calling for new customers for this quintessential marker of taste, discernment, and capital. On the other, he underscores art’s ability to treat and challenge cultural and economic norms not only by earnestly questioning and deconstructing them, but also by embracing them with wry enthusiasm
Text by Francis McWhannell, co-curator of the Projects section of the Auckland Art Fair