Dan Arps

Sleepers (Apple)
630 x 800 x 220 mm
polyurethane and acrylic paint
Dated 2021 verso
Courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett,
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Estimate: NZD 9,000 — 14,000

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Sleepers (Apples) extends from Dan Arps’ ongoing investigation into the psychological and urban influences of everyday materials, colours and architecture. Inspired by walks down hidden back alleyways and forgotten side-streets, spaces that digital mapping might miss, Sleepers (Apples) resembles a fragment of a fence, neglected with moss encroaching. The fragment is familiar and nostalgic, and plays with the formal constraints of Minimalism to consider the language of fencing structures. Sleepers (Apples) isolates selected geometries, textures and colours of the fence and mounts them on the wall, questioning its legitimacy as a marker of property, privacy, security and separation within a supposedly free and natural world.

Artist Biography & History
with Artspace Aotearoa:


A Rock That Was Taught It Was A Bird (group), 16 October — 20 November 2010, curated by Emma Bugden

Local Transit (group), 20 May — 1 July 2006, curated by Christian Rattemeyer and Brian Butler. Arps’ work was exhibited at Artspace as part of this exhibition exchange with Artists Space, New York

Wonderland (group), 16 July — 7 August 2003


Dan Arps contributed an essay to Peter Robinson’s publication Ack and Other Abdications, which was co-published with Clouds, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, on the occasion of Robinson’s solo exhibition ACK (2006). Ack and Other Abdications was edited by Brian Butler, and sub-edited by Gwyenneth Porter.

Dan Arps


Dan Arps (Born 1976, Ōtautahi Christchurch) lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Arps’ installations, sculptures, and paintings fuse architecture, public space, and nomadic structures to expand and reflect upon modernist traditions of abstraction, alienation, and the everyday. His work explores and responds to the contemporary urban environment and its related subjectivities.

Arps gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture) from the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, Ōtautahi Christchurch in 2000. He received a Master of Fine Arts from Elam School of Fine Arts, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in 2006, followed by a Doctor of Fine Arts in 2014. In 2010 he was awarded Aotearoa New Zealand’s premier contemporary art award, the Walter’s Prize, for his exhibition Explaining Things by international judge Vicente Todolí. Arps has exhibited extensively in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, as well as taking part in multiple international projects. His work was included in Abject Failures, Hastings City Art Gallery Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga, Heretaunga Hastings (2018); Space Suit, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Ōtepoti Dunedin (2018); Necessary Distraction: A painting show, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2015); Local Knowledge, The Dowse Art Museum, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt (2011) and the Sao Paolo Biennale (2004).

Dan Arps on A History of Christchurch
An edited excerpt from Arps' unpublished 2014 DocFA thesis

A History of Christchurch (part one) was an installation I made for Artspace, Auckland in October of 2010 as part of the exhibition A Rock That Was Taught It Was A Bird. Curated by Emma Bugden, the exhibition also included Korean artist Kim Beom (the title of his work has been lent as the title of this show), Japanese artist Koki Tanaka, and Auckland Artist Layla Rudneva Mackay.

My work- an installation called A History of Christchurch started as a response to the urban and psychological aspects of the environment of my upbringing in Christchurch. There, there is a 1970s sort of mock-Tudor that appears to have evolved out of the more honest but also quite bleak Brutalist style. I can see the appeal of brutalism, it is sort of honest and matter of fact in its stolid greyness. It is very serious and austere. Mock Tudor takes this honest everydayness and twists it into a nostalgic fantasy with the thinnest of veneers. Always looks a little wrong – indeed, it is out of place and out of time.

Entering the back gallery there was a small building with a mock-Tudor façade- a facade for a large box constructed from recycled steel insulation panels, the kind that are usually used for walk-in refrigerators. I had found company that would come and erect the structure in a morning. They made it without a door so we cut open a kind of cave entrance at the back, which could be accessed through a narrow corridor. I left the cardboard box for a large electric reciprocating saw, left over from cutting the entrance out in the entry to the space by the facade so you would see the box before the roughly cut out cave entrance. Above it hanging from the ceiling there was a crude, non-functional wind chime, fashioned from plastic broom handles, a kind of pathetic bedraggled- looking thing.
In the back there are various objects on the floor: A wire basket contains studio detritus, a shop display rack purchased from an electronics surplus store nearby, with various recycled electrical components and circuit boards attached, a shopping bag containing salt and a traditional instant fruit drink ‘Raro’ - oblique references to previous incarnations of that particular gallery, by local artists perhaps showing a village mentality: an aspect of Tiffany Singh’s installation Newton & the Piecebomb, the salt- covered floor, beneath hanging folded paper containers that appeared in the exhibition Knowing You, Knowing Me (2012) curated by Emma Bugden; and Campbell Patterson’s line of masticated Raro diagonally dissecting the floor beneath a collection of small projections from Floorshow (2009).

These are kind of like the return of the repressed, the previous incarnations of that specific gallery space, both of a whitish powdery substance on the floor, both working with entropic qualities, both using a standard consumer product to deal with the problem of the floor. Casually presented in a plastic shopping bag placed on the ground didn’t really work out in the show, but I think it is an interesting idea.. Inside the cave leads to a room that is largely empty, painted in et al.-style grey. Taped to the ceiling are four yellow and orange balloons in varying states of deflation. The party was always over.