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Re:configuring @ The Shutter Room, Whangarei

14 Apr

Detail of Re:configuring by Sarah Kippenberger and Chris Schreuder

“Re:configuring” by Whangārei-based artists, Sarah Kippenberger and Chris Schreuder in the artist run The Shutter Room gallery and studio space, makes the aesthetic experience mutable and participatory.

Sarah Kippenberger and Chris Schreuder

Detail of over 80 images on one of the walls.



You are instructed to choose an image and then to find it peeping out of one of the orfices of the stacks of 80 or more banana boxes in the gallery space.

Detail in the Shutter Room gallery, Whangārei

The title of the show refers to the continually changing configurations created by the visitors. While the photographic images by the artists showing snippits of their lives are framed to be looked at, pondered over or recognized, the frames obscure more than they reveal and the installation of nooks and crannies and towers is not only random but temporary.

Detail in the Shutter Room gallery, Whangarei

Detail in the Shutter Room gallery, Whangārei

By removing both frame and label this project blurs authorship which often in the art world is an important part of the artwork’s value or reception. Visitors place and re-position the boxes and so affect the way the images or the boxes are read by the participants themselves as well as later visitor-participants. Not only the medium is blurred (installation, performance or an opportunity to rearrange) but also the usual separation between the art object and the gallery visitor. The risk is that the next visitor, expecting their art gallery experience to be about reading a static arrangement, sees nothing resembling ‘art.’ But like many social practice art projects which blur the borders between life and art, a clear context – here in the form of instructions to find the image – helps the viewer to step inside the magic circle and once engaged in the game there’s space for contemplation.

The banana box itself is a migrant entering the country on the back of trade as well as being the ubiquitous storage system. But I am being too serious, because this exhibition oozes with joy and lightheartedness. The images are light or delicate with not a trace of angst and none of the boxes are overly battered. There is an out of the box sense of exploration and play that blurs the lines of “object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art” [1] experience. In another sense the box functions as an enabler of alterity (to reference Spivak whose 1997 Documenta lecture made a huge impact on me), a way of exhibiting the photographic in a divergent space – from the inside of the migrant banana box, with whatever baggage it might have that distinguishes it from a gallery wall.

Footnote: Outside the Citadel, Social Practice Art Is Intended to Nurture, New York Times, 2013

“Reconfiguring” by Sarah Kippenberger and Chris Schreuder,
29 March – 27 April 2019,
The Shutter Room, 9 Rust Avenue, Whangārei
Opposite the public library main door
Wed – Fri 12-4pm, Sat 10-2pm
The Shutter Room Facebook page

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The Poetic Condition @ NorthArt – Gallery 2

15 Nov
"See Nothing," monoprint on paper by Roger Morris, "Bird of Prey" video by Sanne Maes

“See Nothing,” monoprint on paper by Roger Morris, “Bird of Prey” video by Sanne Maes, “Outer mantel 3” + “Outer mantel 4” (and each side of the open wall) by Yair Callender, “Trope” (in the third gallery beyond) by Raewyn Turner and ceramic sculpture by Jess Paraone, “Tomorrow will never be the same” interactive projection by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff,
2 video loops by Pieterje van Splunter.

"Vaat" (Washing Up) 2014, stop motion animation, 7 minutes, 11 seconds, and "Cleaning the Air," 2014, video, 43 seconds

“Vaat” (Washing Up) 2014, stop motion animation, 7 minutes, 11 seconds, and “Cleaning the Air,” 2014, video, 43 seconds by Pieterje van Splunter, The Hague.
“Cleaning the Air” is a film of a sculpture by Pietertje which rotated diverse household items.

"Tomorrow will never be the same" interactive work by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff, 2 video loops by Pieterje van Splunter.

“Tomorrow will never be the same” interactive work by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff, 2 video loops by Pieterje van Splunter.

"Outer Mantel 4" by Yair Callender, “Tomorrow will never be the same” interactive work by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff

“Outer Mantel 4” by Yair Callender, “Tomorrow will never be the same” interactive work by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff

“Tomorrow will never be the same” interactive work by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff[/caption] When you click on the Mondrian painting the pixel the mouse touches switches colours with another colour in the painting and then creates ‘children’ who land at random, where the same colour swap happens and more ‘children’ are created that swap colours. The affect is that the painting continuously mutates as if it is being eaten by colours. The order (straight lines) created by Mondrian is decomposed by randomness initiated by you.

"Tomorrow will never be the same" interactive work by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff, 2 video loops by Pieterje van Splunter.

Detail of “Trope” (in the third gallery beyond) by Raewyn Turner and ceramic sculpture by Jess Paraone, “Outer Mantel 4” by Yair Callender, “Tomorrow will never be the same” interactive work by Jian Yiwei and Sonja van Kerkhoff

"Outer mantel 4" (and each side of the open wall) by Yair Callender

“Outer mantel 3 + 4” (on each side of the open wall), Layers of latex, LED lighting + recycled NZ pine, by Yair Callender. The wooden support was built to instructions given by Yair which included reusing old wood. Detail in the back gallery of drawings by Marianne Muggeridge.

Detail of "Outer mantel 4" by Yair Callender

Detail of “Outer mantel 3” by Yair Callender



 
Yair Callender, born in Groningen (1987) to a Dutch mother and a father who came from Suriname (South America) to the Netherlands to study in the early 1970s, is a graduate of the Hague Royal College of Arts (2014).

He works in concrete, plaster, clay and wood and his main focus is on making public sculpture.

Often his sculpture has some performative social element that involves the local community.

His major themes are cultural expressions and art in society in relation to playing with the idea of beauty in the ugly. The two larger pieces, layers of resin which are back-lit, were made for this exhibition.

These four pieces are playful interpretations of diverse religious symbols (Catholic gargoyles, Asian temples, the Kabbalah tree, etc) found on the exterior of buildings. He has made skins which are lit from within as a metaphor for our human condition – the beautiful seen through the rough and raw. Who could say art is ever ugly?
 

 

"Bird of Prey" video by Sanne Maes, latex light boxes by Yair Callender, Back gallery, "Your Honour" + "Eva was hier" (Eve was here) by Sonja van Kerkhoff, "" suspended panels by Alexis Hunter.

“Bird of Prey” video by Sanne Maes, latex light boxes by Yair Callender
Back gallery: “Your Honour” + “Eva was hier” (Eve was here) by Sonja van Kerkhoff, “Pandora’s Box” suspended panels by Alexis Hunter.

Detail: "Bird of Prey" video by Sanne Maes, latex light boxes by Yair Callender. Two videos by

Detail: “Bird of Prey” video by Sanne Maes, latex light boxes by Yair Callender. Two videos by Pieterje van Splunter

"Bird of Prey" video, HD, loop 0'25" photocopy on transparent paper. 21" LCD tv inside custom-made frame, 61 x 40, Edition of 3  "Outer mantel 3" latex, LED lighting + recycled NZ pine, by Yair Callender.

“Bird of Prey” video, HD, loop 0’25” photocopy on transparent paper. 21″ LCD tv inside custom-made frame, 61 x 40, Edition of 3. “Outer mantel 3” latex, LED lighting + recycled NZ pine, by Yair Callender.


 
“Bird of Prey” by Sanne Maes is from the morphological studies which concentrate on aspects of the outward appearance of humans and animals. In these works distant species are blended and so create transformations of identity.

 

 

 

Detail: "Bird of Prey" video by Sanne Maes. <br>The woman slowly turns her head away and then when she looks ahead her eyes match that of the hawk.

Detail: “Bird of Prey” video by Sanne Maes.

The woman slowly turns her head away and then when she looks ahead her eyes match that of the hawk.

Videos by Channa Boon (The Hague), by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn (The Hague), and by Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris. Four etchings by Virgina Guy (Hikurangi, Northland). Side wall: Monoprint by Roger Morris (Taranaki), video by Sanne Maes (The Hague) and back lit latex relief by Yair Callender.

Videos by Channa Boon (The Hague), by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn (The Hague), and by Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris (Auckland). Four etchings by Virgina Guy (Hikurangi, Northland).
Side wall: Monoprint by Roger Morris (Taranaki), video by Sanne Maes (The Hague) and back lit latex relief by Yair Callender.



 
The latex boxes by Yair Callender on the left light up when approached. Monoprint by Roger Morris. Suspended sheet metal and lamp by Sonja van Kerkhoff. Videos by Channa Boon, by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn, and by Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris. Four etchings by Virgina Guy

The latex boxes by Yair Callender on the left light up when approached. Monoprint by Roger Morris. Suspended sheet metal and lamp by Sonja van Kerkhoff. Videos by Channa Boon, by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn, and by Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris. Four etchings by Virgina Guy.

"Outer Mantel 1 + 2" responsive light latex light boxes by Yair Callender. "Road to JerUSAlem," monoprint on paper by Roger Morris.

“Plastic Play,” video by Pietertje van Splunter
Middle Gallery: “Outer Mantel 1 + 2” responsive light latex light boxes by Yair Callender. “Road to JerUSAlem,” monoprint on paper by Roger Morris.

Responsive light latex light boxes by Yair Callender. Monoprint on paper by Roger Morris. "Fain would they put out God's light," cut out text sheet steel, nylon and lamp by Sonja van Kerkhoff. "Et in Arcadia ego" 29 min video by Channa Boon, "Sensory Cartographies," 7 min video by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn. "Finding Flight," photo intaglio with gold leaf by Virginia Guy.

Responsive light latex light boxes by Yair Callender. Monoprint on paper by Roger Morris. “Fain would they put out God’s light,” cut out text sheet steel, nylon and lamp by Sonja van Kerkhoff. “Et in Arcadia ego” 29 min video by Channa Boon, “Sensory Cartographies,” 7 min video by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn. “Finding Flight,” photo intaglio with gold leaf by Virginia Guy.

Left: "Et in Arcadia ego," 2016, 29 minute video by Channa Boon.

Left: “Et in Arcadia ego,” 2016, 29 minute video by Channa Boon.

Joseph Stalin once expressed his view on art and cinema stating: “Propaganda is the strongest and most important weapon of our party and our battle, and in this battle the visual arts are the infantry while the cinema is the air force.” This was one of the inspirations for the video, “Et in Arcadia ego” by Channa Boon, shot in the former Soviet Union. While historical events are the carrier of the film, a chess game, played by two residents of Odessa, sitting near the city’s Arcadia Beach, is the physical link connecting the different locations: the Aral Sea (Uzbekhistan), Odessa (Ukraine) and Tbilisi (Georgia). This film ends when the chess game is over, but the large-scale power game that is still being played out in the former U.S.S.R. is not over. Stalin’s cotton industries for example, founded by him in Central Asia, are still the reason why large parts of the Aral Sea are gone and the entire region is polluted. In this work, Boon investigates the idea of ‘location’ as a ‘carrier of information’, which any individual or being can tap into, just by being present at a given spot. Conversely, the film aims to show the system of thoughts and ideas that, throughout history, has created both the physical landscape and those who live in it; how it has affected the way they think and act; and how a collective consciousness has been formed in the past and is still being formed in the present.
The phrase ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’ is from a text by Virgil, and is the title of a famous painting (1638) by Nicolas Poussin. The phrase refers to the ideal world that Communism aimed to bring about in this region and the nostalgia that it still invokes.

Above: "Finding Flight," photo intaglio with gold leaf. Edition 1/1, 23 x 28 cm adn "Finding Flight,"  photo Intaglio with gold leaf. Edition 1/1, 33 x 33 cm by Virginia Guy.

Above: two etchings by Virginia Guy. “Et in Arcadia ego” 29 min video by Channa Boon. “Sensory Cartographies,” 7 min video by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn. “Fallible,” 3 min video by Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris.

“Sensory Cartographies” was filmed in the oldest primal forest in Europe in the upper altitudes of the island of Madeira to create a new entry into the herbarium of the Jardim Botanico in Funchal. The herbarium holds an archive of plant species and taxidermized animals dating back to the 16th century and serves as a blueprint of the history of colonization and acclimatization of plant species from the new world. Sissel Marie Tonn and Jonathan Reus created physiological data gathering devices and sensory-extension instruments to challenge the body’s conditioned ways of moving through the environment. These devices served to reshape a sensory worldview to create an alternative sensed cartography of this place. More: jonathanreus.com/portfolio

Above: "Finding Flight," photo intaglio with gold leaf. Edition 1/1, 23 x 28 cm <br>"Finding Flight,"  photo Intaglio with gold leaf. Edition 1/1, 33 x 33 cm by Virginia Guy. <br>"Sensory Cartographies," 7 min video by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn. <br>"Fallible," 3 min video by Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris. Unscented flowers rotate above a vase which holds a sensor and the data from the sensor is turned into piano notes.

Above: “Finding Flight,” photo intaglio with gold leaf. Edition 1/1, 23 x 28 cm
“Finding Flight,” photo Intaglio with gold leaf. Edition 1/1, 33 x 33 cm by Virginia Guy.
“Sensory Cartographies,” 7 min video by Jonathan Reus + Sissel Marie Tonn.
“Fallible,” 3 min video by Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris. Unscented flowers rotate above a vase which holds a sensor and the data from the sensor is turned into piano notes.
More: raewynturner.com/projects

Raewyn Turner & Brian Harris combine art, engineering, science research and their skills developed over years of practice in theatre, the film industry, robotics, interactive software, video, olfactory, art installations and performances. They engage simple elements with engineering to create experiential art, utilising everyday objects reinterpreted with robotics, electronics and microprocessors.

Wall on right: "See Nothing," monoprint on paper, 2017  by Roger Morris, video in custom frame by Sanne Maes.<br> 4 etchings on paper by Virginia Guy.

Wall on right: “See Nothing,” monoprint on paper, 2017 by Roger Morris,
“Bird of Prey” video in custom frame by Sanne Maes.
Back wall: 4 etchings on paper by Virginia Guy.

"Finding Flight," photo intaglio Edition 1/1, 75 suspended prints, 84 x 118 cm by Virginia Guy.

“Finding Flight,” photo intaglio Edition 1/1, 75 suspended prints, 84 x 118 cm by Virginia Guy.

"Finding Flight," photo intaglio on rag paper. Edition 1/10, 23 x 28 cm. "See Nothing," monoprint on paper. 2017, by Roger Morris [R E M O].

“Finding Flight,” photo intaglio on rag paper. Edition 1/10, 23 x 28 cm. “See Nothing,” monoprint on paper. 2017, by Roger Morris [R E M O].

"Outer Mantle 3," latex, LED lighting + recycled NZ pine, 2018, by Yair Callender. "Tomorrow will never be the same," interactive projection by Jian Yiwei + Sonja van Kerkhoff. Two video loops by Pietertje van Splunter. "A Meditation," 7 min video loop by Sonja van Kerkhoff. "Several Seas," laser print on transparency by Sonja van Kerkhoff. "The Experience of Change," interactive projection by Jian Yiwei + Sonja van Kerkhoff.

“Outer Mantle 3,” latex, LED lighting + recycled NZ pine, 2018, by Yair Callender. “Tomorrow will never be the same,” interactive projection by Jian Yiwei + Sonja van Kerkhoff. Two videos by Pietertje van Splunter. “A Meditation,” 7 min video loop by Sonja van Kerkhoff. “Several Seas,” laser print on transparency by Sonja van Kerkhoff. “The Experience of Change,” interactive projection by Jian Yiwei + Sonja van Kerkhoff.

“Once our World had Edges” 2017, 3 min, 22 sec., HD video using only NASA International Space Station footage.  Music: 'a distant backdrop' by sink \ sink, on the album 'a lone cloudburst' by Gareth Schott (Waikato).  "Several Seas," laser print, edition of 50, by Sonja van Kerkhoff.

Once our World had Edges” 2017, 3 min, 22 sec., HD video using only NASA International Space Station footage. Music: ‘a distant backdrop’ by sink \ sink, on the album ‘a lone cloudburst’ by Gareth Schott.
Several Seas,” laser print, edition of 50, by Sonja van Kerkhoff.

 
Gallery 1 | Gallery 3

Met dank aan Stroom Den Haag / with thanks to STROOM The Hague for finanicial assistance as well as to NorthArt.

The T-Shirt is the medium

11 Aug
Installation of T shirts as art

Front row: Ode to the cessation of bleeding by Lesley Anne Morgan (Te Awamutu), Alternative Activities for the Addicted by Elaine Arkell (London), Love Me Knots (with twists) by Sonja van Kerkhoff (The Hague), Elephants for Peace by Elaine Arkell, T-Shirt Plastic by Maureen Baker (Whangarei Heads), Out of Sequins by Brian Harris (Auckland), De-composition (with biogradable rubberbands) by Sonja van Kerkhoff.

Te T-Shirt Show
Curated by Sonja van Kerkhoff + Virginia Guy
Hikurangi Art Station, 31 King St, Hikurangi, Northland, Aotearoa | New Zealand

detail of Te T-Shirt show, Hikurangi, New Zealand

Detail of T-Shirt Plastic by Maureen Baker (made out of fused plastic bags), Out of Sequins by Brian Harris, De-composition (with biogradable rubberbands)
by Sonja van Kerkhoff.

20 Artists:
Elaine Arkell (London, U.K.) | Maureen Baker (Whangarei Heads) | Hamish Oakley-Browne (Whangarei) | Susan Burgess (Christchurch) | Megan Corbett (Hikurangi) | Virginia Guy (Hikurangi) | Brian Harris (Auckland) | Dulcie Hering (Hikurangi) | Sen McGlinn (Kawakawa) | Lesley Anne Morgan (Te Awamutu) | Julia Newland (Whangarei Heads) | Benjamin Pittman (Hikurangi) | Lisa Ponweiser + Mt Hutt College students (Methven) | Jason Ratahi (Opunake) | Jacob Squire (Hikurangi) | Ursula Safar (Wales) | Te Kowhai Trust (Whangarei) | John Thomson (Hampshire, U.K.) | Raewyn Turner (Auckland) | Sonja van Kerkhoff (The Hague, The Netherlands) | Jacqueline Wassen (Maastricht, The Netherlands). Te shirts as the medium for an art show

detail of a T shirt by Lesley Anne Morgan

T-shirts by Lesley Anne Morgan + Elaine Arkell.
Click for a larger view.

Front row:
Ode to the cessation of bleeding by Lesley Anne Morgan. In celebration of menopause, the delicately cut out pieces were scattered on the floor underneath this. The black t-shirt behind this is ‘Arch Overload’ – Portsmouth Festival – 1990, custom made by John Thomson. (thomsonart.co.uk) and Alternative Activities for the Addicted by Elaine Arkell is next, who wrote: “Well, yes I once was a foolish smoker with teeth all stained and brown. The wrangle with nicotine was long and hard and this work came through and out of that wrangle.”

Love Me Knots (with twists) by Sonja van Kerkhoff

Love Me Knots (with twists)

The design for her shirt which features an original 1960s spirogragh drawing made as an ‘alternative activity’ for smoking and the T-shirt was created for the “Your Art Here (too)” on Camberwell Green, South London for Daniel Lehan’s Camberwell arts Week event in 2010. This T-shirt series also had an outing to Brighton with David Medella and the artists of the London Biennale for the project, Longshore Drift. The pink T-shirt, Love Me Knots (with twists) by Sonja van Kerkhoff is a play on materiality and sentiment with the row of rosebud knots at gut level.

Left to Right, 4th row from the front:

The Te T Shirt show

Click for a larger view.

Tīmatanga Kaitiaki (Protected or guided beginning, start or intro) by Jason Ratahi. A T-shirt of slogans in Māori and New Zealand English, Red by Sonja van Kerkhoff, a padded and filled T Shirt. Rabbits by Dulcie Hering. The light blue Tao Shirt by Susan Burgess has the symbol cut. The black shirt at the end of the next row is ‘seed, crop, harvest’ from the album CLAY CLASS DFA Records New York, 2012 by John Thomson, who wrote “My kinetic sculptures feature in the music videos of the U.K. band, Prinzhorn Dance School.” Next is ‘I begin I end’ What I do in between is up to me, a unique symbol screenprint by Megan Corbett while Rabbit by Dulcie Hering is a printed design sewn onto a T-Shirt.

t-shirts

Details of T-shirts by Susan Burgess + Raewyn Turner.
Click for a larger view.

Apron with anti-spasmodic, anti-arthritic, anti-rheumatic galbanum by Raewyn Turner is a blue T-shirt that was cut and resewn into the form of an apron with cloth sachet of perfume. In constrast to Raewyn’s repurposing of the T-shirt, Forget Us Not is purpose-made by Ursula + Alison for their rural gardening business which cares for the gardens of the oft ‘forgotten’ in our society: the elderly.

Te T-Shirt show, Hikurangi

26 Feb

The Hikurangi Art Station
Hikurangi, Northland
3 – 31 March
Opening on 3 March, 5 p.m. Music and potluck (bring some food or drink)
Open Tues-Sunday, 10-4 pm

Curated by Virginia Guy + Sonja van Kerkhoff

Nearly everyone has worn a T-shirt and most have outgrown one. T-shirts are often used as a form of branding, advertising or the making of a statement. T-shirt as a sculpture, a painting, a poem or as a second chance? Come view an installation of lines of hanging t-shirts in the newly opened, artist-run space, The Hikurangi Art Station along with a show of prints in the other half of the gallery.

Detail of Elephants for Peace by Elaine Arkell, London, U.K.

Detail of Elephants for Peace by Elaine Arkell, London, U.K.


Some artists have responded to the T-shirt as medium such as Elaine Arkell’s “Elephants for Peace” series made for a the Ganesha art exhibition held on the streets on both sides of the border on the island of Cyprus. She made these T-shirts in 2011 to be worn by artists involved in performances on the streets. Another submission “Forget Us Not” are the work shirts of Alison and Ursula in their rural Wales gardening business which specializes in garden care for the often forgotten, the elderly.

Jason Ratahi’s submission is a statement of intent. Tīmatanga Kaitiaki (Protected or mindful beginning, start or introduction) is a T-shirt of slogans, in Māori and New Zealand English. Other artists have taken T-shirts and used them as a medium for re-shaping or re-making.

Jacqueline Wassen’s work uses the T-shirt as subject matter: she has created a paper shirt to be burned as an offering where what remains is a video documentation. More about this show is here

Disarm at TodaysArt, The Hague

26 Sep

23-25 September 2016

Disarm (mechanized) by Pedro Reyes in Pulchiri, The Hague.

Disarm (mechanized) by Pedro Reyes in Pulchiri, The Hague.

“Disarm (mechanized)” by Pedro Reys are a collection of mechanical musical instruments made in part out of firearms, including revolvers, shot-guns and machine-guns, given to him by the Mexican government in the city of Ciudad, Juarez, after they had been rendered useless by tanks and steamrollers. In hearing of his work “Palas Por Pistolas,” where he transformed 1,527 guns owned by the residents of Culiacán by melting these down into 1,527 shovels, which were then used to plant 1,527 trees around the world, he was offered 6,700 destroyed weapons from the Mexican Secretary of Defence in 2012. “Disarm (Mechanized),” his second work made from these firearms, can either be automated or played live by an operator using a laptop computer or midi keyboard. This 3.55 min video clip is a piece run from a laptop titled “Turner 2015” in the Pulchri gallery in the Hague.

“For Pedro Reyes the process of transforming weapons into objects of positive utility was more than physical. “It’s important to consider that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place, the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for the lives lost.” Artlyst.com, 25 Sept, 2015

“Pedro Reyes’ work is a socio-political critique on contemporary society and our responsibility towards it. His projects are catalysts for communal and psychological transformation, triggering group interaction and creativity.

Disarm is a demand for towns and cities across the world to relinquish their weapons and transform them from agents of death to agents of life. It is an attempt to highlight the invisible violence that underpins the international industry of death and suffering: the commercial and government complicity that allows for weapons to be made and sold by public companies for shareholder profit; the laws banning assault rifles which go neglected; and the films and video-games which depict trigger-happy heroes. For Reyes, an idealist whose projects affect real change and are often explicit attempts to improve the society around him, a world free of guns is a human right, and a utopian ideal to which we should all aspire.” Lisson Gallery, 2013, London.

Pedro Reyes was born in Mexico City in 1972, where he lives and works. He has won international attention for his large-scale projects that associate social issues with imaginative solutions. Pedro Reyes was awarded a Medal for the Arts in January 2015, by the US State Department for his continued commitment to the State Department’s cultural diplomacy outreach.

See his website or his blog for more.

TodaysArt Festival, hosted annually since 2005 in the Hague, focusses on the presentation and development of contemporary visual and performing arts and emerging culture. About the 2016 edition.

Recycling the material – VillageArts, Kohukohu

9 May

Sarah Lenton's plastic wrapped stones

Sarah Lenton’s plastic wrapped stones are a three dimensional composition of greys, black, white and red.


“It is not a tale invented but a confirmation of what went on before it…” is a quotation from the Quran (Sura 12, verse 111) which speaks of how everything including religious truths are nothing new: that is, everything is recycled, comes around again. The message is recycled although the materials or cultural lens may differ, and so Meaning boils down to a subjective contexutalized point of view.

For decades contemporary artists, have recycled the materials of objects, sometimes with the aim of raising awareness of the effect of context and at other times purely as a medium.

Although a recycled item can never be as ‘modernist’ as the medium of oil on canvas or steel or marble because when an object gains a new life in the context of an art institution (whether an established gallery or not) the viewer will immediately notice, for example, that this old shoe is hung vertically and not on someone’s foot. The context of an art gallery would obviously change the aesthetics of the shoe (we might examine it for the colours and textures or for wear and tear). But the viewer might also wonder why are the walls at eye height in an art gallery so important or why do we have the culture of the rectangular stretched canvas? But what about a show that throws light on the theme of rubbish? Where relocated recycled or found objects are invested with values.

“Rubbish – a new collection” is the latest exhibition at the Kohukohu Village Arts gallery in the Far North of Aotearoa | New Zealand where 29 artists have recycled the material.

Artists such as Méret Oppenheim (see her 1936 teacup and spoon made out of fur.) or Pablo Picasso (see his 1942 bicycle seat “Bull’s Head”) have been using ‘found objects’ in their art since the 1920s but in this day and age where we are increasingly aware of the renewability of materials, it is no surprise that many artists choose recycled materials over a blank canvas.

A detail of David Stanley Benson's grid-locked mobiles in the empty spaces of three pieces of unused concrete reinforcing bar and below Sarah Lenton's plastic wrapped stones.

A detail of David Stanley Benson’s grid-locked mobiles in the empty spaces of three pieces of unused concrete reinforcing bar and below Sarah Lenton’s plastic wrapped stones.

Some choose this for economic reasons. Others for ecological reasons, and some for the conceptual (the extra story or double meaning).

Some use the recycled as a medium while other artists use the recycled as part of the message in their work.

A detail of David Stanley Benson's sculpture.

A detail of David Stanley Benson’s sculpture.

Sculpture by Lindsey Davidson

One of three sculptures by Lindsey Davidson in which copper wire is delicately held inside the protection of a barbed wire structure.

Most artists in this show, such as David Stanley Benson and Sarah Lenton have used recycled objects as the medium. Benson cut shapes out of wood offcuts and in suspending these inside the grid, his work emphasizes the frame within the framework of a triptyph, a traditional format for art story telling from a bygone past. His Matisse-like cut-outs hang freely yet each is enclosed – perhaps a metaphor for the mundane, the urban or futile. Each individual element throws a shadow beyond the frame, yet each is still dependent on the grid. Instead of the concrete reinforcing being filled with concrete, each ‘element’ has been ‘concreted.’

Sarah Lenton’s plastic melted stones function in more abstract terms. They are a three dimensional composition of greys, black, white and red.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lindsey Davidson’s three barbed wire and copper sculptures are poetic spatial inter- ventions. Each copper bundle is surround- ed by a barbed defense system. Perhaps a metaphor for the dependency of the vulnerable elements within an eco-system or the mutability of the systems themselves, given that some of the barbed wire was rusting.

While most recycled materials in the show are used as a medium that replaces paint or marble, some, such as in Michelle Mayn’s woven “Recycled Rain Cape / Pākē,” (A pākē = a New Zealand Māori rain cape) bring in the socio-political or the cultural lens.

Michelle Mayn's woven Recycled Rain Cape / Pake

Woven computer wire and plastic pākē (Maori rain cape) by Michelle Mayn


In any other exhibition or context, we wouldn’t notice whether the plastic or wire was recycled or not because what stands out is the delicacy of the form suspended out from the wall and the fine weaving. Traditionally pākē (rain capes) were made when needed from leaves found at hand in the bush. By making this pākē from plastic and wire, which are commonly found discarded, she is continuing the legacy of other contemporary New Zealand based weavers who work traditionally with new materials such as Ani O’Neill or Anna Gedson. However Mayn’s work is more sculptural and in this context this work is a statement about how art can change the material. Cold plastic and discarded computer wiring gives form to something soft and protective.

Mayn’s delicately woven sculpture-come-fashion-statement is also a reminder that rubbish is in the eye of the beholder.

Detail of a pendent by Tavis Jacques

Detail of a pendent by Tavis Jacques

Tavis Jacques’ pendents also reference the worlds of design and fashion. The material, glass shards, appear sea worn. Washed up glass is not only rubbish but a sign of disregard because at some point it was thrown into the sea by someone. The artist has redeemed the insult.
The works display a delicate balance between form (the sculptured and irregular contours as well as minimal traces of what was once a bottle) and design (the forms are almost wing-like and the carved incisions are a double spiral). Rubbish is recontextualised as ornament.

"Down to the bone" by Sue Matthews is as painterly as it is sculptural and conceptual.

“Down to the bone” by Sue Matthews is as painterly as it is sculptural and conceptual.

“Down to the bone” by Sue Matthews is a cross between a Maddox (Allen Maddox (1948-2000) was a New Zealand known abstract expressionist painter) painting and a fluxus object. Matthew’s combination of painting, sculpting and assemblage are akin to the Fluxus use of intermedia.

The title refers not just to the bone held up like a trophy above the kauri platter by a pair of forks but also refers to scraping the barrel, using things to the last drop. The paint, her statement informs us, is scrapings from paint tin lids while the platter is a warped reject. Here rubbish is what has been conserved as well as the found or collected objects. There is painterly delight, sculptural magic and conceptual wit in this work.

It is an associative work where the edges between one medium or idea merge with another. Perhaps the next time we scrape the leftovers from the plate life gives us, we might think what else can be made of them.

The "The Bix-Box Racer" + "The Bix-Box Racer" by Malcolm Ford.

The “The Bix-Box Racer” + “The Bix-Box Racer” by Malcolm Ford.

Malcolm Ford’s model planes are other works which are a rich combination of the conceptual, the ecological and the material. “The Bix-Box Racer” is a model based on a 1930s single seater 7 cylinder radial plane built for speed. It is made out of weet-bix cereal packaging. Weet-bix was the iconic New Zealand energy breakfast meal for those of us growing up in the 60s to 80s.

His biplane titled “The Bristol Black Sack,” constructed out of discarded corrugated cardboad covered with a black rubbish collection bag, is based on a combination of the German, French and English biplanes developed towards the end of World War 1. The art of model making is generally concerned with the presentation of a faithful representation aimed at the illusion of a copy of a larger item. In using recycled packaging as well as a rubbish bag, Malcolm Ford has turned this concern with the craft of representation on its head. Then as if this is not enough, he melds the elements of the German, French and English biplanes so the distinctions between those who were at war in the skies of 1918 are dissolved into one art statement. Time does not stand still and we should beware of a nostaglia that is uncritical.

Left to Right: "Down the Rabbit Hole" by Marg Morrow, "In Milk We Trust" by Sonja van Kerkhoff, and abstract collage compositions by Erika holden

Left to Right: “Down the Rabbit Hole” by Marg Morrow, “In Milk We Trust” by Sonja van Kerkhoff, and abstract collage compositions by Erika Holden

In Marg Morrow’s work “Down the Rabbit Hole,” scale is what you notice first.

The ‘rabbit hole’ refers to the metre long tube of fabric created by knitting discarded clothing. This Odenburg-esque soft sculpture hangs from an enormous spool that in turn is suspended from above. Unlike Oldenburg however, what you notice is the combination of recycled elements. So for example, you can clearly see that the cable spool serves as a scaled up cotton reel.

Liz McAuliffe’s approach is to collect, order and display. A wall shows her suite of five “Collections.” Three are found objects, such as a wheel hub and a piece of wood, which have been hung like trophies on display. Two of these collections consist of arrangements of objects on shelving.

Left > Right: Fused plastic by Sarah Lenton, Wall Flowers by Christine Butler, + Yellow plastic with wire and other objects on the wall are by Lynsie Austin, Chair with metal protusions by Beverley Cox, "Collections" the objects + shelving on the front wall are by Liz McAuliffe.

Left > Right: Fused plastic by Sarah Lenton, Wall Flowers by Christine Butler, + Yellow plastic with wire and other objects on the wall are by Lynsie Austin, Chair with metal protusions by Beverley Cox. The objects + shelving on the front wall are “Collections” by Liz McAuliffe.

A detail of "Collections: A Measure Of Time" by Liz McAuliffe.

A detail of “Collections: A Measure Of Time” by Liz McAuliffe.

In “Collect- ions: A Measure Of Time” objects have been placed at markers along three wooden rulers. The top ruler is dotted arte povera-like with rusted and flattened found objects. Perhaps they mark the passing of time? To me they are reminders of treasures in the unexpected. The second row consists of packaging and the third a row of small bottles. These remind me of Damien Hirst‘s cabinet displays of ordered collections.

Rubbish!
a new collection

April 11th – May 14th 2015
Village Arts Gallery, Kohukohu, Hokianga
www.villagearts.co.nz

Artists in the exhibition are:
Hebe Albrecht, Lynsie Austin, David Stanley Benson, Christine Butler, Beverley Cox, Janine Creser, Lindsey Davidson, Claire Deighton, Malcolm Ford, Wally Hicks, Erika Holden, Tavis Jacques, Leona Kenworthy, Cherie Keys, Sarah Lenton, Sue Matthews, Michelle Mayn, Liz McAuliffe, Gillian McGrath, Rachel Miller, Marg Morrow, Tina Mudrach, Jill Reilly, Karen Reeves, Sash, Lise Strathdee, Nathan Suniula, Sharon Terrizzi + Sonja van Kerkhoff