Last night, Auckland’s iconic building Hopetoun Alpha was lit ablaze. And yet, despite the roaring flames that engulfed the structure, there was no panic in the air. Instead, a sense of awe. The head-turning flames were merely projections, used to illuminate the edifice to commemorate the opening night of Inferno, a week-long exhibition developed by photographer Gui Taccetti, in collaboration with Mike Mizrahi of Inside Out Productions.
Known for his emotive photographic series that investigate themes of sexuality, diversity and religion, it was undeniably fitting that the location for his opening evening would be Hopetoun Alpha, a deconsecrated church. The rows of pews and towering ceilings, once combined with the dim lighting and moody music, set a kind of palpable energy that didn’t just suit the thematic and aesthetic content of his unique works, but brought them to life in an incredibly profound way, too. Each image, a product of elaborate set design and impeccable photographic talent, was irradiated to a bright and vivid level, ensuring that anyone who looked upon it could see every aspect of the piece in minute detail. Elsewhere in the building, a small room played host to a behind-the-scenes screening. Displaying the time and effort that goes into each piece, the film was a testament to the artist’s unbridled passion and determination to create.
When guests weren’t getting lost in his works or learning about his process, they were celebrating the man himself, with a champagne toast. Champagne, canapes, lively atmosphere and thought-provoking art, Inferno was a night that made an impression on everyone: art buff or otherwise. And it’s just a small taste of what we can expect over the next few days, with the exhibition set to expand into a week-long experience packed to the hilt with private viewings, inspiring talks, gripping performances and a few more lavish parties. For a full look at the exhilarating lineup, click here.