Inga Fillary makes her solo debut at Hastings City Art Gallery

Hawke’s Bay’s Inga Fillary brings home her first solo art installation, saying it feels like a full circle experience. Photo / Provided

An emerging artist has created an art installation like no other, which Inga Fillary hopes will perturb her audience.

Over the past week, Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga, Hastings City Art Gallery, hosted the artist’s first major solo exhibition.

The showcase is a threatened and menacing space that presents a metaphor that Inga hopes to disturb and invite the public to bravely venture into the speculative unknown.

“What’s the Matter” is the name of the installation of a small burnt-out room that explores the philosophical theories of speculative realism through the displacement of materials.

The exhibit may sound negative, but it was meant to represent a celebration of humanity as a dying species and the possibility of something beyond.

The young artist said she was “very delighted” to show Hawke’s Bay what she described as the culmination of three years of work for her master’s degree at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts.

“It’s never been seen before, so it’s an absolute pleasure and privilege to finally show ‘What’s the Matter’.”

“Also, I grew up here and went to NGHS and Colenso, so I guess that’s me coming full circle,” the artist said.

The exhibition
Inga Fillary’s ‘What’s the Matter’ exhibition will be on view at Hastings City Art Gallery until June 6, 2022. Photo/Supplied

“I hope this installation brings something new to the gallery. Because you physically enter the space, it has a visceral effect that you can feel with your whole body, that’s what I mean by hope destabilize the public.”

Unsurprisingly, the Covid-19 pandemic was a catalyst for the installation.

“It has been both a blight and an inspiration,” Inga said. “This work is rooted in pessimism, but I see it as a positive celebration of a dying species.

“It highlights the fact that the world is much bigger than what we are equipped to perceive. There is vitality and an unreachable aspect in the universe beyond what we can experience.”

She said it was hopeful work that asked us to see our insignificance as a good thing – the universe will continue to exist whether humans survive or not.

A preview of what Hawke's Bay <a class=art lovers can expect to see when they visit the young artist’s ‘disturbing’ installation. Photo / Provided” class=”article-media__image responsively-lazy” data-test-ui=”article-media__image”/>
A preview of what Hawke’s Bay art lovers can expect to see when they visit the young artist’s ‘disturbing’ installation. Photo / Provided

Curator of the Te Whare Toi exhibits, Clayton Gibson, said the exhibit offered the community a chance to support an artist with local ties as she forges the early stages of her career.

Despite her appearance, Inga explained that for her, the installation is hopeful and that pessimism in the right circumstances can be a beautiful thing because it can help us look beyond ourselves.

“I mean, if we go to hell in a hand basket, maybe we can leave behind the unimportant aspects of being.”

Inga Fillary’s ‘What’s the Matter’ exhibition is on view at Hastings City Art Gallery until June 6, 2022.

Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga – Hastings City Art Gallery is open 10am to 4.30pm, Monday to Saturday, and 1pm to 4pm on Sundays. My vaccination record is mandatory.

For more information on exhibitions and events, please see the gallery’s website –

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