Art & creativity  |  9 Feb 2022

A unique piece of international art can be yours for the same price as of a pound of butter.

A new Kunstautomat – art vending machine – has been installed in the Christchurch Arts Centre and is the first of its kind to make its way to these shores.

The machine is the invention of German artist Lars Kaiser who has been repurposing old vending machines in Europe for several years

Instead of junk food or drinks, the Kunstautomat is filled with small art that people can buy for $6 a pop.

“For that price you get a piece of handcrafted art which could be a painting, tiny sculpture, photograph, drawing, a cartoon or any other type of art you can imagine,” Christchurch City Council Arts Advisor Zara Potts says.

“There’s something exciting about not knowing exactly what’s about to come out of the machine. They’ll be great pieces to collect and just a bit of fun.”

The idea of bringing the Kunstautomat to the city began when Ms Potts first spotted the machines on a holiday in Berlin. Mr Kaiser was supportive of the idea and designed a machine specifically for Christchurch as well as reconfiguring the machine to take New Zealand money.

The Kunstautomat is situated in the South Quad of Te Matatiki Toi Ora The Arts Centre Christchurch and is the first of three machines arriving in New Zealand thanks to a partnership between Mr Kaiser, Toi Ōtautahi and the Goethe-Institut NZ

The project is also an opportunity for local artists who can apply to have their own work included in the machine both here and in Europe. 

“We are super excited to be launching the first one in the Southern Hemisphere and the first one in Aotearoa. It’s going to be a great asset for our Christchurch creatives,” Ms Potts says.

“Work from local artists will feature in the machines around New Zealand, as well as being sent across the globe to machines overseas.”

Mr Kaiser has donated the Kunstautomat and the price of the artwork goes towards supporting the artists and paying for their supplies.

The project is part of the Council’s arts strategy Toi Ōtautahi which has been developed to support the growth of our local arts sector and creative community.

Find out more about the Kunstautomat.