40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS - Art Exhibition - Michael Reid Gallery

Wayne Youle
40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS

5 Jul - 10 Aug 2019

This is a story of two moments – a day and a night. The first happened a year ago in the famously bright sunlight of Aotearoa New Zealand. At home in his rural Amberley studio, 45 minutes’ drive north of Christchurch, Youle wrote a poem that reflected his sense of personal and professional contentment: at peace and happy with where he found himself in life. That feeling was in stark contrast to another poem he wrote, which recalled a night in Sydney, Australia a decade before. Sullied by intoxication, self-doubt and disgust, it’s a feet-in-the-gutter reminder of how quickly the heights of success can be eclipsed by humiliating lows.

To make 40 Days and 40 Nights, Youle broke each poem into 40 lines, letting the phrases split instinctually, some into single words, others into longer fragments. He then paired each text with an image; using high-resolution scans taken from a large set of second-hand slides he has collected from a range of sources over the last eight years. He wanted the process of juxtaposition to be as random as possible and the accidental marriages between word and image opened up a range of unexpected, yet oddly precise meanings. Some previously care-free scenes took on a darker edge; in others the floated text introduced an absurd humour or surprising poignancy. We never come to art unencumbered, of course. What we see is framed and nuanced by our upbringing, culture, gender – even our age and stage in life. Youle in his studio waves to another version of himself all those years ago in Sydney, separated not only by time and distance, but by experience, including fatherhood, and by a solid line of practice that reaches out behind him. We can’t shake off our shadows, but at the start of every day we can return to the work of putting ourselves back together again.

Felicity Milburn, 2019
Curator, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

  • Wayne Youle
    40 Days and 40 Nights (once upon a time), 2018-2019

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (as normalcy sets in), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (a boy), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (sitting on a stump), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (a slightly damp stump), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (a little bit sticky), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (tree sap), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (made soft by the sun), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (and recent atrocities), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (nevertheless), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (it makes a perfect resting place), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (a perfect height for), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (leg swinging), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I seem to be able), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (to smell), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (better than I can), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (hear), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I hear), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (50 things at least), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (most of which are familiar), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (most are friendly), 2018-19

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    Wayne Youle
    40 Days and 40 Nights (most are passive), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (but one is), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (slightly off putting), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (sharper), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (aggressively short), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (like the second hand), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (on a cheap wall clock), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (when you can’t sleep), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (due to unfinished business), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (from the day just gone), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (best laid plans), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (thwarted by), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (resting on a stump), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (in an open paddock), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (swinging my legs and listening), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (in hindsight), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (does me no favours), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (when now 49 out of 50 things I hear are), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (more than slightly off putting), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (we are in for a long night), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I tell my shoelaces), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (Kazimir Malevich), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (in asphalt), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (sorry perfectly placed beside), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (fuck), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (and bodily fluids), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (almost acceptable), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (thanks to the current time), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (and surrounding vigour), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (what puts one here), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (hand on heart), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I promise), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (with fingers crossed), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (behind my back), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (bravado oozes from my pores), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (aftershave afterthought), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (wishful thinking leads to), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (no thinking at all), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I am not far away), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (from loving everyone), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (even you), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (you son of a gun), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (job vacancy on an island), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (must have people skills), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (great time management), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I got both), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I tell myself), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I really only have one), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (at peace with the situation), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (if I get the job), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I will be on time), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights ((I promise)), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (parted ways with Malevich), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (deciding to go it alone), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights ((for a while)), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (I could be a professional), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (hermit), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (like Tom Hanks in), 2018-19

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    40 Days and 40 Nights (castaway), 2018-19

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