Ian Strange: Final Act

Australian artist Ian Strange continues his worldwide investigation into the suburban home with ‘Final Act’, a new work commissioned and exhibited by Canterbury Museum, which saw Strange transform four suburban houses still ravaged by the effects of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Working in collaboration with New Zealand cinematographer, Alun Bollinger, local residents, community groups and volunteers, Strange produced four unique light based intervention artworks for ‘Final Act’. Each piece took a home that had been slated for demolition by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

Conceptualised in 2012, Strange and his team entered the four homes in Avonside – a red-zoned neighbourhood, which is still uninhabitable three years after the quakes on 1 November, 2013, to begin the transformation process.  Working with demolition director Graham Thompson, his salvage team and a group of Christchurch volunteers, fences were righted, lawns mowed and gardens re-planted. After three years of overgrowth and damage, the houses were restored close to their original state.

Once structurally sound, geometric shapes were painstakingly cut in to each of the houses, before lighting them from the inside, in part, a signifier of the life that had previously inhabited them.  Over three nights the homes were meticulously re-lit, filmed and photographed.

Consisting of six large-scale photographic works, a 12-minute looped film installation and two cross-sections cut directly from the houses, ‘Final Act’, is on exhibition at the Canterbury Museum, New Zealand.

See a short documentary film about the process and the on-site production on our ART TV.


Untitled House 3  – Cut away, 2013, archival digital print, from  ‘Final Act’