This is day01.
of something
compelling and


Pim van Nunen. 

Press Release.

Exhibition Catalogue here.
The bottled ship, capsized.

The late Ray Gascoigne loved the shape of ships. Taught the craft of building a vessel within a vessel within a vessel by a fellow sailor while at sea in 1949, aged 21. Gascoigne, who worked as a shipwright on Cockatoo Island, as well as a fisher, ferry master, and merchant sailor, built “a couple of hundred” of these tiny objects, using tools he made himself or had previously used on the job. Ultimately presenting a distillation of time, held in the palm of the hand.

Pim van Nunen has also traversed the globe, has also built sculptures in bottles. Drawn to the practice, he connected with Gascoigne, whose daughter eventually bequeathed the tools of her father’s trade to van Nunen. But what to do with these bespoke objects, made by and for the same hands? In honour of Ray, van Nunen has inverted these tools and their history, incorporating them along with other objet trouvé into minimalist sculptures of vessel forms. A horizontal slash of wood, heavy with patina, anchors a small selection of other objects. Spindly brushes that once probed carefully into a bottle now rise as elegant masts.Rusty tweezers stand to attention between sections of chipped paint. The worn handles of screwdrivers emerge as pudgy chimneys. A subtle diagonal suggests a stern. 

Even for those of us with little real-world experience with ships, their forms evoke instant associations. The romance of seafaring, with ship as the stars and support acts in countless historical dramas. Carg ships resting on the misty horizon, carrying the world’s shopping at seemingly imperceptible pace. Sydney’s eponymous harbour, flecked with crafts of all shapes and sizes.

Visiting Sydney in the first decade of the 20th century, Australia impressionist artist Arthur Streeton painted a series of harbour view on narrow wood panels. Painted quickly and from direct observation, the ships in these scenes appear as a few tiny, deliberate brushstroke – fleeting suggestions of form which are just enough for the mind’s eye. Made in the same harbour city, van Nunen’s sculptures of seagoing vessels are similarly conjured by what is left out as much as by what they include. Born of contemplation and observation, these elegant works embody the melancholy of decay, recalling a time long-gone when the majesty of ships reflected their indispensability. With these boats for Ray, van Nunen has capsized the vessel within the vessel within the vessel.

Text by Chloe Wolifson, 2023.
Pim van Nunen Website.

A boat for RayPim van Nunen.

13 July – 12 August 2023

Pim van Nunen, Teresa, 2023
found timber, cement, Ray’s oil paint tubes (zinc titanium white & scarlet)
18 x 30 x 5 cm

Pim van Nunen, Teresa, 2023 (detail)

Pim van Nunen, Augusta, 2023
found timber, rusty nail, Ray’s drill bit
18 x 80 x 5 cm

Pim van Nunen, Eleanor, 2023
found timber, Ray’s screwdrivers, handmade surgical & putty knives
58 x 133 x 4 cm

Pim van Nunen, Eleanor (detail), 2023

Pim van Nunen, Wilhemina, 2023
found timber, 8 of Ray’s rusty files and tweezers
20 x 195 x 2 cm

Pim van Nunen, Wilhemina, 2023 (detail)

Pim van Nunen, Petronella, 2023
found timber, 5 of Ray’s hand-made surgical knives & brushes
56 x 115 x 4 cm

Pim van Nunen, Petronella, 2023 (detail)

Pim van Nunen, Delores, 2023
found timber, rusty screws, Ray’s saw handles
20 x 160 x 4 cm

Pim van Nunen, Rhubi, 2023
found timber, cement, Ray’s saw, pen, cork, nautical rope, file
30 x 116 x 3 cm

Pim van Nunen, Ursula, 2023
found timber, rusty nail, Ray’s precision drill, cork, nautical rope
11 x 100 x 4 cm

Pim van Nunen, Ursula, 2023 (detail)