exhibition image

There Goes The Moon

Commissioned by TVNZ for New Artland series
share
Series 2, Episode 12, 2019

There Goes the Moon (2009), which was situated on Te Henga (Bethells Beach) on the North Island of Auckland, I asked him about the decision to work at this particular beach site, and whether it carried specific political meaning. He answered by stating simply that any work on the land, and especially when you work on the shore, carries with it an ongoing legal contest arising from Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and the ongoing Waitangi tribunal. The treaty is New Zealand's founding document and takes the form of an agreement in Māori and English, between the British Crown and about 540 Māori Rangatira (chiefs). It is inevitable and inescapable that working on the land will relate to political issues. 


There Goes the Moon also has a deep relationship to the natural world. Its ephemeral nature was based on his own ancestral land, Matatā, which had been devastated by floods and rain. Initially, Paterson wanted to use volunteers from Matatā to assist him in making this large, circular, moon-like design in order to connect the beauty and power of the natural world with the devastating trauma of disaster. 

Paterson has described this earthwork as belonging to a body of work that he has called Narcissus in which the re­lationship between the beauty and the power of the natural world described through indigenous knowledge is a subtle and poetic articulation of some of the contestation to be found within public space at the intersection of indigenous and non­-indigenous knowledge. In his other Narcissus works, tradi­tional kowhaiwhai designs, which embody important Maori knowledge, are developed into reflective and glittered surfaces, with aesthetic undertones tliat refer to tl1e work of Bridget Riley and op art.


There Goes the Moon, which was carved into the beach by local volunteers at low tide, used the shimmering black sand of Te Henga to create a reflection and conversation with the full moon, as the incoming night tide destroyed its intricate beauty. Like the myth where Narcissus is blinded by his own beauty and attended by a bodyless Echo, Paterson offers us a moment of reflection and destruction and the continuing echo of indigenous art and knowledge. 


– Seeto, Aaron. Ground Cover: Fiona Foley and Reuben Paterson. Indigenous Strategies for Public Art, Public Art Review: Issue 42, Spring/Summer 2010, pp. 32.

Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Reuben Paterson, There Goes the Moon, Making of, Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay
Making of Bethells Beach Te Henga. Photo Grant Finlay

There Goes the Moon (2009), which was situated on Te Henga (Bethells Beach) on the North Island of Auckland, I asked him about the decision to work at this particular beach site, and whether it carried specific political meaning. He answered by stating simply that any work on the land, and especially when you work on the shore, carries with it an ongoing legal contest arising from Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) and the ongoing Waitangi tribunal. The treaty is New Zealand's founding document and takes the form of an agreement in Māori and English, between the British Crown and about 540 Māori Rangatira (chiefs). It is inevitable and inescapable that working on the land will relate to political issues. 


There Goes the Moon also has a deep relationship to the natural world. Its ephemeral nature was based on his own ancestral land, Matatā, which had been devastated by floods and rain. Initially, Paterson wanted to use volunteers from Matatā to assist him in making this large, circular, moon-like design in order to connect the beauty and power of the natural world with the devastating trauma of disaster. 

Paterson has described this earthwork as belonging to a body of work that he has called Narcissus in which the re­lationship between the beauty and the power of the natural world described through indigenous knowledge is a subtle and poetic articulation of some of the contestation to be found within public space at the intersection of indigenous and non­-indigenous knowledge. In his other Narcissus works, tradi­tional kowhaiwhai designs, which embody important Maori knowledge, are developed into reflective and glittered surfaces, with aesthetic undertones tliat refer to tl1e work of Bridget Riley and op art.


There Goes the Moon, which was carved into the beach by local volunteers at low tide, used the shimmering black sand of Te Henga to create a reflection and conversation with the full moon, as the incoming night tide destroyed its intricate beauty. Like the myth where Narcissus is blinded by his own beauty and attended by a bodyless Echo, Paterson offers us a moment of reflection and destruction and the continuing echo of indigenous art and knowledge. 


– Seeto, Aaron. Ground Cover: Fiona Foley and Reuben Paterson. Indigenous Strategies for Public Art, Public Art Review: Issue 42, Spring/Summer 2010, pp. 32.