Emily Floyd

Keeping it Complex, Keeping it Connected

12 November 2022 - 26 March 2023

Working across sculpture and public installation, Narrm / Melbourne-based artist Emily Floyd (b.1972) uses her work to explore histories of play.  Her practice employs modes of making, doing, and communicating as a means of framing investigations into public philosophy, socially engaged design, typography, language, and the legacies of modernism.  

Education, care, and childhood are ongoing concerns within research. In Keeping it Complex, Keeping it Connected, Floyd takes as a point of departure a series of lectures by early learning scholar Emeritus Professor Margaret Carr, the transcripts for which are held in the University of Otago’s Uare Taoka o Hākena Hocken Collections. Floyd’s specially commissioned 27 metre wall-relief installation activates Professor Carr’s provocations for meaningful, collaborative, narrative-based learning.

Keeping it Complex, Keeping it Connected turns towards the mechanisms that shape thinking and practice, creating a glossary of Early Childhood Education concepts, incorporating the thinking of Professor Alexandra C. Gunn and other scholars to inform education within the local context. Bookended by the Owl of Minerva, a symbol of knowledge and learning, the exhibition is presented as a space for gathering and making.  Colourful and comic, Floyd’s sculptures aim to revise the rarefied air of the research library into a space that is equal parts joyful and surreal – reconnecting the complexity of educational theory to a more human experience. 

Floyd has constructed the furniture for this shared space from the Autoprogettazione series by the Italian modernist designer and artist Enzo Mari (1932-2020).  Designed in 1974 as a response to the mass production of furniture, Mari’s designs provided an open-source blueprint for DIY makers to create quality design from simple, accessible materials.  This social space might be considered as an alternative way of considering the archive or library – reinforcing the importance of both making and working together as a means of knowledge exchange and production. This gesture reflects Floyd’s wider interest in how her practice might create open-ended opportunities for empowering teaching and learning through making and creative thinking. 

As the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa International Visiting Artist for 2022, Floyd has spent time in Ōtepoti researching this exhibition. She will conclude her residency with a series of programme events and workshops - visit our website or enquire at Gallery reception for more information about these programmes.


A Dunedin Public Art Gallery Visiting Artist Programme, supported by Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa. Project Partner, Dunedin School of Art

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