My ART | Artist: Zac Langdon-Pole

What do you do?

I’m an artist. I make exhibitions, sculptures, photographs, puzzles and, occasionally, books and films. Sometimes I moonlight as an educator.

What images are pinned to your studio wall?

I generally try to live and work without too many images around me because processing images is my full-time job. But most consistently there have been a few pictures that have followed me around: Marcel Broothaers’ “Femur of a Belgian Man” (1965); Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s “Air” (1566); and a watercolour rainbow painted by my niece, Charlie.

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

Probably an assemblage piece made of painted corrugated iron and wood by my father or one of my mother’s mosaics or quilts. But in my adolescent years, I think Felix Gonzales-Torres’s “Perfect Lovers” arrested any preconceived ideas I had about art and cracked my head open to entirely new ways of relating to the world.

What did you learn at art school?

Too many things to list here but one of the most consistent (and unending) lessons was learning when to and not to take on advice, criticism and opportunities. My Professor in Frankfurt, Willem de Rooij, would always sign off class emails with a photo of Nancy Reagan holding up her infamous “JUST SAY NO” (to drugs) sign. It was a wry joke of course, but behind it Willem offered what he considered one of the most affirmative and generative tools in an artist’s toolbox: the ability to say no.

If you could commission someone, anyone, to write up your work/life, who would it be?

I don’t think one’s biography or work can ever be contained by one voice, so I’d cheat and opt for an exquisite corpse book with contributions from: Roberto Bolaño, Clarice Lispector, Mary Oliver, David Abram and Lynn Margulis.

What is art for?

Art has many uses: stimulus, meditation, sedation, joy, consolation, and connection or communion to something much larger than ourselves. For me, art is an act of tender scrutiny that transforms how we see the world and our place in it.

What’s next?

I recently got back from Gadigal / Sydney where my exhibition ‘Entity Studies’ is on view at STATION Gallery. Early next year (February 2024) I’ll be unveiling a particularly monumental / un-monumental sculpture for Waiheke Sculpture on the Gulf. Later in the year, I’m participating in the 11th Asia Pacific Triennial at QAGOMA, Brisbane, amongst other projects.