Nirvana Park is a solo presentation of new works by Tāmaki Makaurau based artist Dan Arps. Grungy yet architectural, a series of sculptures explore the phenomena of reserves in suburban areas, so-called blank sites that evade productivity and instead operate as spaces to gather and places of refuge. Adopting models such as the pavilion, the maquette, the diorama and even figurative sculpture, Arps constructs rudimentary and cartoonish elements with the aid of motley materialities.
Dark grey planes of re-claimed industrial materials make up large, dominant structures, these form open rooms with precariously supported walls and archways. Uneven and curvilinear pieces create cartoonish shapes that nonetheless bear a resemblance to large-scale public art in corporate or civic spaces. For the artist this configuration produces a kind of pavilion, one that recalls a myriad of structures and spaces co-opted by teens, lovers, nightwalkers and rough sleepers, anyone who seeks a temporary reprieve in a place that is neither domestic, nor commercial.
Arps has used a range of materials for this new body of work including found materials and office waste, polystyrene and combined these with more traditional art-making and modelling materials. The pavilion is accompanied by sculptures on wheels, idiosyncratic elements with the ability to be mobile, even itinerant. Accompanying maquettes, diorama and vitrines flatten the usual hierarchies of making sculpture so that there is no distinction between the conventions of studies and final artworks. An encounter with the parts of Arps’ installation allow visitors to reflect on cheeky, non-habitual and crafty ways of engaging with our surrounding built environments.