Yvonne Todd

1035 x 935 mm
digital collage from scanned 120 film, c-type print
Edition 2 of 3
Courtesy of the artist and Ivan Anthony, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Estimate: NZD 5,000 — 8,000

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Yvonne Todd’s Cheer made its first appearance in After Killeen: Social Observation in Recent Art, 3 November — 15 December 2001, an exhibition curated by Anna Miles for Artspace during Robert Leonard’s directorship. Leonard would go on to curate Yvonne Todd: Creamy Psychology, a major exhibition of Todd’s work at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi in 2014/2015. Cheer was a centrepiece of this significant exhibition, and is illustrated in the artist monograph Creamy Psychology, published in 2014 by Victoria University Press.

This work returns to Artspace Aotearoa for When The Dust Settles after safe storage in the artists studio for a number of years. Cheer is a photograph of the back of six female heads, their gaze modestly averted from the viewer. Immediately puritanical, Cheer evokes the strict uniformity and codes of conduct found in institutions such as schools. By wearing floral scrunchies to plastic bauble or intricate lace ties, the girls are united in their enduring sense of individuality against forces of repression.

Artist Biography & History
with Artspace Aotearoa:


Free New Zealand Art (group), 16 March — 16 April 2005

After Killeen: Social Observation in Recent Art (group), 13 November — 15 December 2001, curated by Anna Miles


Yvonne Todd was included in Speculation, a publication produced in 2007 as Aotearoa New Zealand’s contribution towards the 52nd Venice Biennale at a time when Government funding for New Zealand at Venice was under review. Speculation was edited by Brian Butler, then director of Artspace.

Yvonne Todd


“Photography has always appealed to me because it allows for such interesting convergences of the artificial and real. Familiar photographic tropes are embedded in the work, but nothing is definitive.”

Yvonne Todd (b. 1973) uses large format analogue film cameras to create images that combine glamour and perversity, constantly pushing the viewer to question what hidden narratives lie just beneath the surface. Exhibiting since 1997, Todd has work in the collections of all major Australasian public art galleries and has been included in numerous major public-gallery exhibitions. The breadth of her work was showcased in a major survey exhibition, Creamy Psychology, at City Gallery Wellington in 2015. It was the first time City Gallery gave the entire gallery space to one artist. Recent exhibitions include Garden Variety: Photography, Politics and the Picturesque, a commission by the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne as part of the PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography, Clonclave and Friends at Ivan Anthony Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and Act Natural at McLeavey Gallery Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

In 2002, Todd won the inaugural Walters Prize, New Zealand’s most prestigious art award. In 2019, she received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. Yvonne Todd has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland and lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.