Work: Provisional Arrangement
Year: 2015
Construction: Aluminium, concrete steel
Size: 1100mm x 2000mm x 1800mm


Provisional Arrangement is Paul Cullen’s exploration in to methodologies, temporary constructions and the particular arrangement of materials and objects. The positioning of precarious, unstable masses that work against gravity are Cullen’s favourite points of interest. An artist with a special place in the boundary-pushing artistic sphere of New Zealand, Provisional Arrangement depicts the careful, perilous balancing of a boulder, painted in bright blue hues and supported by two yellow poles, on top of a bolted chair.

Cullen’s work embodies the duality of his practice; showing affection for the materials whilst deconstructing the traditional solidity of sculpture as an art form. This is seen physically in his vulnerable, rickety, freestanding artwork. Cullen‘s use of assemblage objects, like the painted rock, are veiled by his process of painting them with matte paint; this hides the substantiality of the rocks, so we are unable to guess their weight unless we were to pick them up. As Cullen himself said: “My art practice is located in a strategy of fabricational ploys directed, principally, towards physical, sculptural outcomes”.

Cullen was a man who spent his enduring artistic career enticing people to think beyond their first impression. He danced between conflicting ideas and the tensions that bind them; the stable and the precarious, high and low art, the visible and invisible. His work often shows a fascination with investigative procedure, including pataphysics, the science of imaginary solutions. Provisional Arrangements, in Cullen’s practice, are premised on the belief that art and science can interact - as an investigative and experimental look in to balance and gravity, addressing subjective art through the lens of objectivity.