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Wayne Youle: 20/20 words of wisdom

Wayne Youle, History tells me 2018-2019. Collection of the artist and SUITE gallery, Wellington
Wayne Youle, I'll be the one wearing the pink carnation, standing in the corner (sweating) 2017 (detail) Collection of the artist. Photo: John Collie, courtesy of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
Wayne Youle, genius 2012-2013 (detail) Collection of the artist
15 Dec 2019 to 29 Mar 2020
15 Dec 2019 – 29 March 2020
Artist Wayne Youle returns to hometown for major exhibition
Event type: 
Art, Exhibition, Public Art
Pātaka Art+Museum
Cnr Norrie and Parumoana Streets Porirua


Twenty years since Pātaka hosted a young Wayne Youle for his first-ever group exhibition, and a decade since his ten year survey, the gallery welcomes the artist home for a major solo exhibition.  20/20 words of wisdom opens on 15 December and runs through the summer until 29 March. With its ‘pop art aesthetic’, the show tracks the progress of Youle’s art practice since he last exhibited at Pātaka in 2009—the ambitious scale and complexity of his recent conceptual works a noticeable change since then.

“We’re excited to be hosting this 20 year survey exhibition in Wayne’s home town. Wayne is an important local artist who has a significant international reputation,” says Pātaka Director, Reuben Friend. “20/20 words of wisdom engages with ideas of Aotearoa New Zealand identity and international pop art influences. With the artworks open to different interpretations, it will appeal to—and challenge—both locals and visitors.”

Featuring over 20 artworks, 20/20 words of wisdom includes painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation across four galleries. The title, and many of the artworks’ titles, refer to sayings from Youle’s parents and other mentors:  Heavy is the air we breathe when it is the breath we use for judging others is a wooden sculpture that alludes to ideas of judgment and things going down like ‘a lead balloon’; in Piece of String, Youle’s mother knitted on and off for exactly one year to produce a 26m long wool scarf, a nod to the saying, ‘How long is a piece of string?’. Becoming a parent has also been an influence and some of Youle’s works refer to what he says to his own child. My fact is no match for your fiction relates to conversations with his child on the nature of the sun and Māori legends. 

A publication with essays by Justin Paton, Head Curator of International Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Lara Strongman, Director Curatorial and Digital at the MCA Australia, accompanies the exhibition.

Wayne Youle  (1974 - ) was born in Porirua where he lived until his late 20s.  Of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaeke and European descent, he grew up in Titahi Bay and was active in the local sports community, playing rugby for Norths and competing nationally and internationally with the Titahi Bay Surf Lifesavers Club. In 2009, Youle held his ten year survey exhibition 10 Down at Pātaka and a solo exhibition Fingers Crossed at CIty Gallery Wellington, 2012. He is currently in Auckland at the McCahon House Artists’ Residency but lives in Canterbury. Youle is represented by Suite Gallery, Wellington and Michael Reid, Sydney and Berlin.

Written by

Pataka: Art + Museum

18 Oct 2019