Exhibitions

Nabokov’s Blues: The Charmed Circle

As the most famous novelist of his time, Vladimir Nabokov often featured on the cover of or inside TimeLifeVogue, and the like, catching butterflies—and so became also the most famous lepidopterist of his time. Most assumed he was just a hobbyist, although a few specialists realized he was a world class scientist, as has been borne out in research, books, and exhibitions from the 1980s to the 2010s. 

Internationally renowned New Zealand photographer Fiona Pardington has made it part of her practice for years to reanimate dead material she finds near her home or in museums around the world: birds, mushrooms, plaster life casts of Maori heads, fragments of archival handwriting. She interrogates death and celebrates collecting and preservation. 

A Nabokov lover since her teens, she was stunned to read in 2011 how science had vindicated his hunches about the populating of the Americas by the Blues (Polyommatinae) he specialized in. To pay homage, she has photographed, in European and American museums, only butterflies Nabokov caught and killed, words or diagrams in his hand, butterfly images on printed pages he marked: “The butterflies must be his own, their thorax crushed by the fingers that held the pen with which he wrote. Butterflies taken, like relics. One degree of separation. Love and death fold together.”

After waiting for years for the right camera breakthrough, as Nabokov would wait for the right weeks and weather to catch the species he stalked, Fiona has found ways to disclose the beauty and strangeness of what he could see in“the charmed circle of the microscope” (“On Discovering a Butterfly,” 1941). 

University Distinguished Professor Brian Boyd

Dr. Fiona Pardington wishes to acknowledge the generous support of Creative New Zealand; Distinguished Professor Brian Boyd, University of Auckland; Macroscopic Solutions; Robert Dirig; Anne Freita; Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation; Anthony Marx, Carolyn Broomhead, Thomas Lannon of New York Public Library and Starkwhite, New Zealand.

With thanks to the Musée Cantonal de Zoologie, Lausanne; Cornell University Insect Collection, Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection and the Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room for Rare Books and Manuscripts of the New York Public Library, NY.

Press:
Paperboy
Denizen
National Business Review
Ngai Tahu Film Documentary

 

Exhibitions

Current

Upcoming

Past

Layla Rudneva-Mckay | I Roll

15 February 2022 - 19 March 2022

Fiona Pardington | Tarota

16 November – 18 December 2021

Fiona Pardington | Tarota Preview

5 October – 7 October 2021

Jan van der Ploeg | The Other Window

17 August – 12 October 2021

Laith McGregor | Second Wind

3 July 2021 – 7 August 2021

Richard Maloy | Maternal Routine

3 June - 19 June 2021

The Auckland Art Fair 2021

24.02 - 28.02

Will Cooke | Every Wall Is A Door

15 January 2021 - 13 February 2021

Whitney Bedford - Bohemia

Seung Yul Oh: Horizontal Loop

John Reynolds: RocksInTheSky...

For Pink Pussycat Club | as part of THE BILL

Fiona Pardington | Childish Things

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Rebecca Baumann Once More With Feeling

SIGNALS

The Armory Show 2010 | 1001 Nights
an installation by John Reynolds

Art LA Contemporary 2010

ShContemporary 2008 | Gavin Hipkins, Hye Rim Lee, Jae Hoon Lee and Grant Stevens

Jonny Niesche | Poikilos | 17 November - 22 December

GEMMA SMITH - Thin Air

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Performative Geographies

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Laith McGregor | Second Wind | July 3 - August 7

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Nabokov's Blues: The Charmed Circle

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Martin Basher Birds of Paradise | 13 April - 14 May

Clinton Watkins | lowercase

Whitney Bedford 2016 | Lost and Found

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