Lyn Dallison on Between Tides

With the fifteenth iteration of the one-day art event Between Tides about to take place, Lyn Dallison shared with us images from previous years and answered a few questions about the event’s history and philosophy.

Between Tides holds a unique place among Auckland’s public art events, with each work being displayed on the beach for just five hours in the break between tides, and with an emphasis on casual inclusion.

This year’s event will be held between 10am and 3pm on Sunday April 17 in the bay at the end of Westmere Park Avenue, Auckland.

Could you tell us about the history of Between Tides?

Between Tides is an annual one-day, onsite exhibition, started in 2001. The first year it was just Jersey members, but it was very obvious that once you put work in the environment you need plenty of work, and some big works. The next year we invited a few extra artists and the numbers have grown each year since. Now we regularly get about 30 exhibiting artists.

We wanted it to be inviting for everyone so we dispensed with the formalities of marked/named work so as to encourage viewers to seek out the artists whose work they liked and engage with them in person. The work can be for sale, but this involves a direct engagement between artist and prospective buyer. We have had a lot of pressure to formalise the exhibits in some way and we have resisted because of this original philosophy.

A Brisbane collective, Carte Blanche, approached us in 2012 to hold a Between The Tides event in Brisbane, the next year Jersey members and a couple of regular Between Tiders went to Brisbane for the second Between The Tides event.

Do you see this sort of temporary public exhibition functioning in a certain way in the surrounding communities?

From the very beginning we wanted an outdoor exhibition that was very community based, so we chose Westmere Park Avenue beach because it was at once a small bay, and a huge estuary. We always leaflet the local area and a lot of locals enjoy coming down with their children and dogs to attend the event. A number of locals now exhibit also, which we really enjoy. Personally, as well as anecdotally, I think the temporary public exhibition that creates a community following becomes something of a treasure to community. We are always very careful to leave the beach tidier than we found it, and the close homes are very tolerant of the work, noise, and the sunny chaos of the event.

Do you have any particular highlights from previous years?

There have been many memorable works: Gaye Jurisich has, in more recent times, worked on site to make her work over the day, which created a lot of interest (image below). Sam Coldicutt started contributing to Between Tides when he was still quite young and did astonishingly innovative work with sound. The year of the Rena disaster there was a beautiful miniature re-enactment of the event in the bay by Bryony Matthews and Verena Jonker.