Neil Pardington is of Māori (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Mamoe, Kāti Waewae) and Pakeha ancestry. He is one of New Zealand’s most established and widely exhibited contemporary photographers. His recent series of works The Clinic and The Vault, photographed over a ten-year period, document the operating and storage areas within hospitals and museums. These critically acclaimed works take into account the history and practices of medicine and of collecting.
In 2011 he was commissioned by the Adam Gallery to make Behind Closed Doors, a series documenting the homes of Wellington art collectors.
Taking its name from the seminal book by Michel Foucault, his current project The Order of Things documents scientific collections in museums revealing the tensions between colonising scientific structures and the traditional Māori knowledge system, mātauranga Māori. Taxonomy – the science of naming, describing and classifying organisms – provides a formal structure to the series, with each genus presented as single major work hung en masse in a grid structure as a typology.
Neil is a graduate of the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. He is a founding trustee of the Paemanu Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Arts Trust. In 2011 he received New Zealand’s premier award for photography, the Marti Friedlander Photographic Award.