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Unwin’s Install by Mike Hewson

These site-specific installations explore the ties that bind memory and architecture, Alicia Sciberras meets the artist


October 26th, 2012

New Zealand installation artist Mike Hewson does not do things by halves; in fact, it would seem he knows only how to do things on a grand scale. His latest work is part of The Rocks Artist Residency Pop-Up initiative where he has spent the last three months working away to create the Unwin’s Install in two stages.

Homage to the Lost Spaces – Christchurch, New Zealand

Buildings come and go, often as part of development or renewal and renovation. But it is not often that an entire city gets the chance to rethink the urban planning and infrastructure that will dictate the way the inhabitants interact within the space in the wake of natural disaster.

Homage to the Lost Spaces – Christchurch, New Zealand

The thoughts of a city with no heritage buildings and no reference to the past is seemingly lifeless and this is exactly what is happening to one of our closest neighbours: Christchurch, New Zealand.

Homage to the Lost Spaces – Christchurch, New Zealand

The relics and romantic gestures of historic masonry and intricate design features signify what once was a thriving city, and now it seems almost as if the city has decided to completely rid themselves of the past and not even attempt to restore their heritage.

Unwin’s Install (Stage 2) – Sydney, Australia

Artist and survivor of the Christchurch earthquake, Mike Hewson, recalls a time when he and fellow artists were working in studios in the heart of Christchurch and through his art practice offers the audience a time to reflect and appreciate the memories that are attached to these significant architectural structures.

Unwin’s Install (Stage 2) – Sydney, Australia

Hewson’s original work Homage to the Lost Spaces has been a defining point in his artistic career, paving the way for an entire collection of installations around the globe. The Sydney structure Unwin’s install marks an impressive turning point for the artist who has been able to objectively remove himself from the work and create a piece that is more responsive to the contextual space and culture, whereas Homage to the Lost Spaces uses personal images and personal memories to reflect on a time before the earthquake.

The images used for the Christchurch installation were taken within many of the buildings before the disaster struck the city and by exposing the images on the exterior Hewson manages to invert those personal memories in a way that imbues a certain innocence and empathy upon the viewer.

Unwin’s Install (Stage 2) – Sydney, Australia

Highly technical and intensely calculated, each image is worked on to the surface so that from only one vantage point the whole image can be seen in perspective. Almost like a hologram, when you find this point the image jumps out at you and demands attention and it is this subtlety that is a trademark of Hewson’s work.


  • The Sydney installation runs from the 26th of October to the 20th of November.
  • Located in Sydney’s historic The Rocks precinct, the Unwin’s Install (Stage 2) will officially open at 6pm Friday 26th of October 77-85 George Street, The Rocks.


Mike Hewson


The Rocks Popup


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