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Bodies of Light – including Islam in a New Zealand aesthetic landscape

8 Jun

These five blogs are an attempt to do some justice to, Ko rātou, ko tātou | On Other-ness, on us-ness, an exhibition that few individuals were able to see due to the gallery being closed because of COVID-19, on March 15, and from March 23 until mid May. The impetus for this exhibition, was my own experiences a year previously, following the Christchurch Mosque massacres. I realised how little experience many empathetic New Zealanders had of Islam. I am a Bahai, not a Muslim, but I have some insight into the diverse cultures of Islam because, over the decades, I, like many Bahais have engaged with Muslims and the Islamic worlds.

Detail of  Huroof e Muqataat (The Disconnected Letters), chalk Arabic letters by Sen McGlinn and Wake, corrugated iron water tank, by Jeff Thomson

Detail of Huroof e Muqataat (The Disconnected Letters), chalk Arabic letters by Sen McGlinn on the inside of
Wake, corrugated iron water tank, by Jeff Thomson

I lived in Muslim-dominated neighbourhoods in the Netherlands for 19 years and worked with mosques and Muslim shop owners in relatively conservative communities in two exhibitions that I curated. These aimed at creating dialogues between contemporary art and aspects of the diversity of Islam. With this background, I started work on developing a show intended to give some insights into Islam, utilizing works by contemporary New Zealand artists as the medium. I am grateful to Wendy Harsant, then manager of NorthArt, for accepting my pitch, and to my co-curator,
Salama Moata McNamara for her help in the exhibition.
Foreground: Wake, silkscreened corrugated iron water tank, by Jeff Thomson; New Space / Takawaenga, circular floorpiece, by Ursula Christel, Talking Sticks by Carolyn Lye, Conference of Stones video and soundscape by Phil Dadson Two texts in Arabic high on the walls read, Left to Right

Click for a larger view of this image.
Foreground: Wake, silkscreened corrugated iron water tank, by Jeff Thomson; New Space / Takawaenga, circular floorpiece, by Ursula Christel; Talking Sticks by Carolyn Lye;
Conference of Stones,
video and soundscape by Phil Dadson
Two texts in Arabic high on the walls read: ﯸ ﯷ (Until you have asked permission) and above the video: ةحال (The Stones)

Some of the works by 24 artists (listed here) were aesthetic responses to the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacres while others were re-contextualizations, or responses to the Qur’an and the diverse cultures and histories of Islamic worlds. A general aim here was to include Islam in a New Zealand aesthetic landscape, and to see what changes.

I will focus here on nine works in the show, and write separate blogs on the other works in the three gallery spaces.

Conference of Stones 10 minute video and soundscape by Phil Dadson

The Arabic text above means “The Stones”
below detail of Conference of Stones,
video and soundscape by Phil Dadson
Photo: Ursula Christel


Five texts in Arabic were positioned high on the walls around the front gallery to re-contextualize the adjacent artworks. One of these texts “Hijārat” (the stones), near Phil Dadson’s video and soundpiece, “Conference of Stones” was accompanied by two excerpts from the Qur’an: “There is not an animal on earth, no bird flying on wings, but they are communities like you.” (6:38) Even the stones “fall down for fear of God” (2:74). Both texts, and the video and soundscape, bring focus to the natural world as a source for understanding. The Qur’an refers to communities in the animal world, while the reference to stones could be read as either a metaphor for the hardened self (“your hearts were hardened”, 2:74) or as the omnipotence of Allah because even stones are moved.
Conference of Stones 9 minute video and soundscape by Phil Dadson

Click for a larger view.
Still: Conference of Stones 10 minute
video and soundscape by Phil Dadson


When I first watched the video it reminded me of the poem “The conference of the birds,” by Persian Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar (c. 1145 – c. 1221) where diverse birds, each with a differing human-like weakness, seek to find a leader. After tests and journeys, thirty birds survive and discover that collectively their diverse traits form something greater.
Conference of Stones video and soundscape by Phil Dadson

Click for a larger view.
Still: Conference of Stones, 2013, video and soundscape,
by Phil Dadson.
Filmed in HD 1920 x 1080 digital moving image, stereo recorded with Sennheisser microphones.
Credits:
Performed by Phil Dadson
Camera by Bruce Foster
Sound recorded by John Kim
Digital video/audio by Phil Dadson
Produced with the support of Pew Charitable Trust, CNZ Arts Council of New Zealand, Colab Creative Technologies,.
Watch an exceprt of this 3 screen video on vimeo.


The ‘conference’ in the poem takes the form of journeys and challenges penned in allegory with multiple meanings, while in the video the ‘conference’ is the distinctive voices of handheld tapping stones collected by the artist from locations in diverse countries. The sonics of these stones were intended to resonate throughout the gallery like ripples and then beyond into the middle gallery to merge with the more abstracted and melodic soundscape from the third gallery, by Los Angeles based omposer and musician, Jessika Kenney.

Conference of Stones video and soundscape by Phil Dadson

Click for a larger view.
Conference of Stones, video and soundscape by Phil Dadson, Peace Flight, (far wall) Passion I and Passion III by Brenda Liddiard; A Matter of Faith, by Fiona Lee Graham; Kete Muka Tuatahi by Christina Hurihia Wirihana.

On the wall adjacent to the video, Passion I and Passion II by Brenda Liddiard function as abstract interludes in earthy tones with surfaces reminiscent of rugged landscapes. The delicate ink drawing, A Matter of Faith, by Fiona Lee Graham, of a nun engaged in hoeing seems to speak of a history of relationship with the land as does the woven kete (basket), Kete Muka Tuatahi (First Flax Fibre Basket) by Christina Hurihia Wirihana.
Passion I and Passion III by Brenda Liddiard

Click for a larger view.
Passion I and Passion III, 2010, Mixed media & collage on board, by Brenda Liddiard;
A Matter of Faith, 2020, monoprint, ink on paper, 150 x 100mm, by Fiona Lee Graham; Kete Muka Tuatahi by Christina Hurihia Wirihana.

Wirihana’s masterly work twists the flax back and forth, contrasting the dull underside against the top side of the flax to create the Inanga (whitebait) design. Like the citation in the Qur’an, the natural world is given a focus for human enlightenment. The patterns of this kete, created purely by twisting and turning, reflect the communities of tiny whitebait wriggling upstream against the odds.
Wake, corrugated iron water tank, by Jeff Thomson

Wake, silkscreened corrugated iron water tank,
by Jeff Thomson
The Arabic text on the wall beyond reads ‘The Heart’


Across from the video stands Wake, a customized mini-watertank by Jeff Thomson. The form speaks of containment, but on closer inspection it is about the impossibility of this. Numerous holes perforate the sides and bottom of the tank. These are not immediately visible because they match the silkscreened watery patterns and are therefore masked. These patterns are the ‘wake’ in the title: signs that something no longer present has passed by.
Detail of Huroof e Muqataat (The Disconnected Letters), chalk Arabic letters by Sen McGlinn inside Jeff Thomson's water tank sculpture.

Click for a larger view.
Detail of Huroof e Muqataat (The Disconnected Letters),
chalk Arabic letters by Sen McGlinn inside
Jeff Thomson’s water tank sculpture.


Inside this water tank are chalked floating Arabic letters, Huroof e Muqataat (The Disconnected Letters) by Sen McGlinn. This refers to the letter sequences called “Huroof e Muqataat” that begin 29 of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an. When reciting these Surahs (Chapters), these letters are pronounced as single letters, not formed into words. They are not semantic units of meaning but serve as sound – or as form if the person is reading – as a mystical or mysterious element to this Holy Book. McGlinn chose these letters to recontextualize this sculpture as a visualization for a sea of meaning that cannot be grasped: the ineffable. The absurdity of water containing water becomes a metaphor for the enigmatic wake left by a presence.
Detail of  Huroof e Muqataat (The Disconnected Letters), chalk Arabic letters by Sen McGlinn<br>and Wake, corrugated iron water tank, by Jeff Thomson

Detail of Huroof e Muqataat (The Disconnected Letters), chalk Arabic letters by Sen McGlinn
and Wake, corrugated iron water tank, by Jeff Thomson. Background: Conference of Stones, video and soundscape by Phil Dadson, Peace Flight, Passion I and Passion III by Brenda Liddiard;
A Matter of Faith, by Fiona Lee Graham;


Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza

Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza

Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza

Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza


The end gallery installation, Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza consists of projections of letters falling down twelve translucent columns of silk. Akin to the “Huroof e Muqataat” of the Qur’an, these letters or letter compositions do not form words. Each letter or combination becomes visible as it strikes the top folds of fabric and then descends to rest in a composition of other letters in the ancient Kufic font. This font is still used for permanent commemorative plaques and hence is generally associated with stability, the semantic and the architectural. Mirza’s use of this font as illuminated descending non-semantic form changes this context to the ephemeral, physical and conceptual. These letter-bodies are not prescriptive but are signs of the abstracted mystical or otherworldly.
Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza

Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza


Mirza is enrolled in a PhD at AUT (Auckland University of Technology) and is influenced by the 20th century Huroofiya Art Movement where Arabic calligraphy is deconstructed and abstracted from its more literal usage. Some schools within this movement also focus on symbolic meanings in the cosmos for these letters. Her interactive installations are practice-based research into philosophical notions of light, language and art and this installation is part of her research. The human presence is a vital part of this installation: the viewer is invited to move between the diaphanous columns.
Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza

Detail: Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza


Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza

Detail: Haykal Al Noor (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza


Projections of these illuminated letters are intended to fall on the visitors’ bodies as well as onto the columns of delicate fabric so that the word ‘Haykal’ (Bodies) in title references both the Arabic letters and the presence of the viewer, whether as the body-self inside the installation, or as observer watching others as forms, continually shaping these projections. The bodies of the visitors complete the intention of this site-specific installation which here, exists in parallel with the soundpiece, Pamor performed and composed by Jessika Kenney. ‘Pamor’ refers to metallurgical patterns in ritual weapons. The sung syllables are abstracted from a Javanese prayer attributed to Sunan Kalijaga, one of the nine Sufis who brought Islam to Java over five centuries ago.

 

A list of the 24 artists in this exhibition | Next blog on this exhibition >>

 
About these 8 artists

Brenda Liddiard is a visual artist and singer songwriter/musician based in Auckland, Aotearoa | New Zealand. She has been exhibiting her paintings since 2008. brendaliddiard.co.nz, and is co-founder of the fundraising art organisation, Art for Change (www.artforchange.net).

Christina Hurihia Wirihana, based in the Bay of Plenty, Aotearoa | New Zealand, is a weaver of Te Arawa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rangiunora, Ngāti Raukawa, Tainui descent. Wirihana is the Chairperson of Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa (National Collective of Māori Weavers in New Zealand). In 2014 this collective of weavers exhibited 49 tukutuku panels in Kāhui Raranga: The Art of Tukutuku at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. These panels are to be installed early 2015 at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. In 2003 Wirihana received Te Tohu Toi Kē from Te Waka Toi Creative New Zealand for making a positive development within Māori arts. See: wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Wirihana

Fiona Lee Graham, based in Auckland, completed a Bachelor Degree in Design and Visual Art, majoring in Painting, at the Unitec, Auckland, in 2010. See: thegreyplace.nz/artists/fiona-lee-graham

Jessika Kenney, based in Los Angeles, U.S.A. is an experimental vocalist, composer, and teacher. She is most known for her performances of Indonesian vocal music (sindhenan), and Persian vocal music (radifs), as well as for her compositions drawing on elements of both. See her discography – jessikakenney.com

Jeff Thomson based in Helensville, Aotearoa / New Zealand is known for his sculptures and site-specific installations using corrugated iron as his main medium. His sculptures range from the well-crafted and iconic, such as his suite of New Zealand native birds, to the conceptual, such as his cut and corrugated ironing boards, or the add-ons he created for the roofs of houses scattered throughout the city of Whanganui, to the quirky, such as his water tanks, some filled with water, peep holes and motors. jeffthomson.co.nz

Narjis Mirza, born in Pakistan and now based in Sydney, Australia, is an installation artist. Her research examines the confluence of eastern philosophy with virtual reality, highlighting the transcendent philosophy of Persian philosopher Mulla Sadra (1571–1636). She completed her Master’s degree in Media and Design from Bilkent University Ankara, Turkey, after a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts with distinction at the National College of Arts in Pakistan. She is currently undertaking a PhD at the Auckland University of Technology. narjismirza.com

Phil Dadson, based in Auckland, Aotearoa / New Zealand, is a video & sound artist with a transdisciplinary practice including building and performing with experimental musical instruments, sound sculptures, digital media, music compositions, graphic scores and drawings. Moving image and foregrounding sound has been a feature of his practice since the early 70s, referencing the body, land, nature, and the human condition. He also founded the music/performance group, From Scratch (1974 – 2004). Awards & residencies include: US Fulbright 1991, NZ Arts Foundation Artist Laureate 2001, Antarctic Artist Fellowship 2003, ONZM 2005, Sankriti residency (India 2007), Artist Cinema commission 2010, Wallace Arts Trust Jury award 2011. thearts.co.nz/artists/phil-dadson

Sen McGlinn, born in Christchurch, Aotearoa / New Zealand has recently returned to live in the Far North after living in the Netherlands for almost 30 years. He has a Master’s in Islamic Studies from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, where he is working on a PhD. He has authored and co-authored a number of books in Persian Literature & Iranian Studies. He has exhibited in sculpture parks and galleries since the early 90s. sculpturebysen.wordpress.com

To the next blog on this exhibition >>

Auckland show – Islam in dialogue – NorthArt, closes 31 May 2020

22 May

Ko rātou, ko tātou | On Other-ness, on us-ness
NorthArt, Northcote, Auckland, Aotearoa | New Zealand

curated by Salama Moata McNamara + Sonja van Kerkhoff

Open now until 31 May 2020
Artists will be at the gallery 12-3pm,
Sat., Sun., and Monday, 12-3, 23-25th May

Ko rātou, ko tātou | On Other-ness, on us-ness NorthArt, Northcote, Auckland, Aotearoa | New Zealand curated by Salama Moata McNamara + Sonja van Kerkhoff opened 16 March 2020.

Left to Right: Wave, custom-made water tank by Jeff Thomson
Vitruvian Angel Man with Spirit Level by Ursula Christel. Courtesy the artist and Mokopōpaki
Pilgrimage to Mecca by Gavin Chilcott.
From the Eros and Psyche series (111) by Joanna Margaret Paul
Two untitled corrugated iron sculptures by Jeff Thomson
(foreground) New Space / Takawaenga (2020) re-purposed wooden table (dia. 118cm), 4 table legs (H: 46cm), vinyl flooring, 3mm acrylic sheets (83 x 83cm), glass chess board (38 x 38cm), ceramic tile (20 x 20cm), composite board (dia. 65cm), jute, LED lights by Ursula Christel.
New Space / Takawaenga is a conceptual assemblage inspired by geometry and the floor plan of the Dome of the Rock. It refers also to a quote by George Dei (2006) – “Inclusion is not bringing people into what already exists; it is making a new space, a better space for everyone.”
Takawaenga is a process.
– Ursula Christel, 2020

Left to Right: Wave (detail), custom-made water tank by Jeff Thomson Vitruvian Angel Man with Spirit Level (2018) by Ursula Christel. Courtesy the artist and Mokopōpaki Acrylic, gesso, printed perspex, metal lugs, pencil, sealant on board (99 x 61cm), plastic spirit level (6 x 61cm). Gavin Chilcott Pilgrimage to Mecca Framed pastel on paper. Arabic text above reads: "first house (avvala baytin)"

Left to Right: Wave (detail), custom-made water tank by Jeff Thomson
Vitruvian Angel Man with Spirit Level (2018) by Ursula Christel. Courtesy the artist and Mokopōpaki Acrylic, gesso, printed perspex, metal lugs, pencil, sealant on board (99 x 61cm), plastic spirit level
(6 x 61cm). Gavin Chilcott Pilgrimage to Mecca Framed pastel on paper.
Arabic text above reads: “first house (avvala baytin)” A4 text below this begins with:
“Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for humanity was that at Makkah
– blessed and a guidance for the worlds”. The Qur’an, 3:96

This is one of 5 texts in Arabic arranged around the first gallery.
More about these texts and the works in the next blog.

“Haykal Al Noor” (Bodies of Light) by Narjis Mirza

still: “Haykal Al Noor” (Bodies of Light), site specific video installation by Narjis Mirza
with the soundscape, “Pamor” by Jessika Kenney
in this short video on youtube which also shows these works:
“Light District,” framed canvas, LED lighting, by John Mulholland;
“Halg” (Throat) video from the series Sokout/Silence, by Azadeh Emadi;
“Ka aroha” (Love), gouache and ink on paper,
by Salama McNamara & Emma Paton;
“Auckland Flowers 15/03/2019,” dried flowers, soil, compost, brown paper, by Java Bentley;
“Love is Blind,” embossed braille on paper,
by Tash Nikora;
“Fabric of Humanity” cast glass with impressions of a hijab pattern based on the hijab worn by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2019 by Layla Walter;
“Fifty-one” an installation incorporating an assemblage of painted stacked cards and texts from Rumi by Michelle Mayn.

artists
Adibah Saad, Wellington
Azadeh Emadi, Iran / Auckland / Glasgow, Scotland
Brenda Liddiard, Auckland,
Carolyn Lye, Karetu, The Far North,
Christina Wirihana, Bay of Plenty
Emma Paton, Auckland
Fiona Lee Graham, Auckland
Gavin Chilcott, Wellington
Java Bentley, Auckland
Jeff Thomson, Helensville
Jessika Kenney, Los Angeles, U.S.
Joanna Margaret Paul, Whanganui
John Mulholland, Warkworth
Layla Walter, Auckland
Lipika Sen, Auckland
Michelle Mayn, Auckland,
Narjis Mirza, Sydney, Australia
Phil Dadson, Auckland,
Tash Nikora, Whangārei
Salama Moata McNamara, Auckland
Sen McGlinn, Kawakawa
Sonja van Kerkhoff, Kawakawa | The Hague, The Netherlands
Tash Nikora, Whangārei
Ursula Christel (Mokopōpaki), Warkworth

Some photos of the exhibition are here: artsdiary.co.nz

Some thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne exhibition video

12 Apr

still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video on youtube.

On March 23rd, three days before this exhibition was due to close, I was informed by the gallery that they have closed the gallery due to the COVID-19 pandemic and I was given permission to film and take photographs before the lockdown date of March 25th.
Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

In New Zealand things moved very fast. On Saturday evening we all heard news of a 4 step plan where we were at step 2, social distancing. Some libraries and swimming pools had closed on the Friday before. Then on Monday 23rd, when I heard of the gallery closure, we had moved to step 3 and then later in the day it was announced that New Zealand would go into lockdown, step 4, at midnight on Wednesday 25th.

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

The poetry reading to be hosted by Piet Nieuwland was cancelled but we met in the gallery (and kept our 2 metre distance from each other) and Piet read, solo. However the sound quality was terrible … and no possibility for another shoot.
Then Craig Denham shared his lockdown morning improvisations amongst his friends, and so we have day 4 as the soundtrack for this 12 minute video.

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video


Forced into lockdown, like Craig, I have found these weeks thought provoking – two exhibitions I co-curated are in lockdown and two other exhibitions planned for 2020 are cancelled, yet this is nothing compared to the threat of losing one’s life or livelihood.

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

Still from the Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne, Whangarei show under lockdown, 2020 12 minute video

I must go and publish the video here on youtube and then I will return to another blog later. In the meantime here is a link to a blog I wrote for a Dutch Arts Review website “CONNECTING ART IN A TIME OF CRISIS: New Zealand –The Netherlands.”

Manners of Speaking – Te Pūkoro o Tāne

17 Feb

21 Feb – 26 March 2020
Geoff Wilson Gallery, NorthTec Campus, Whangārei, Aotearoa

Ghosts by Ashleigh Taupaki, Auckland

Ghosts photographic print by Ashleigh Taupaki. 42.0 x 59.4 cm
I te huringa kōmuri, e haramā te whenua i te kēhua
On looking back, the land was covered white with ghosts

Hauraki proverb

When we speak of the world in metaphor, not only is it more engaging, but it is a reminder that whatever we say is a translation of the worlds around us.
Over 50 works in diverse media on themes of proverbs and sayings by artists based in Aotearoa and beyond, curated by Sonja van Kerkhoff with 3rd year NorthTec year students.

Artists

Animal Picnic by Andrea Gardner

Animal Picnic, Archival Lambda print, 1 out of edition of 3
by Andrea Gardner. 82 x 57 cm
(click for a larger view)

Alicia Courtney, Moerwera, The Far North

Andrea Gardner, Whanganui

Ashleigh Taupaki, Auckland

Brenda Liddiard, Auckland

The Map of Hard Places, Mixed media on board, by Brenda Liddiard. 30 x 70 cm, 2014.

The Map of Hard Places, Mixed media on board
by Brenda Liddiard. 30 x 70 cm, 2014.

Brit Bunkley, Whanganui

Carolyn Lye,
Karetu, The Far North

Catrina Sutter,
Russell / Kororāreka

Chiara Rubino,
Matera, Italy

Cle Tukuitonga, Otangaroa, The Far North

Chiara Rubino, photographic print

Chiara Rubino, photographic print, 28 x 21 cm

Buona e’ la neve che a suo tempo viene
Good is the snow that comes in its time

Chiara Rubino photographs her home city, Matera, a UNESCO heritage city in southern Italy.

Elaina Arkeooll,
London, UK

Giacomo Silvano,
Irsina, Italy

Hilda Simetin, Auckland

Jacqueline Wassen, Maastricht,
The Netherlands

Jamie Larnach, Auckland

Jarred Taylor + others, Whangārei

Jeff Thomson, Helensville

Joas Nebe, Germany

Jeff Thomson 3 piece assemblage

Jeff Thomson, 3 piece assemblage

“There’s No Iron So Hard That Rust Won’t Fret It;
and There’s No Cloth So Fine That Moths Won’t Eat It.” Scottish Proverb

Joas Nebe, still from The Shareholder's Nightmare

Joas Nebe, still, The Shareholder´s Room, video, 3 min 45 sec

Man steigt nicht zweimal in denselben Fluß
You Cannot Step Into the Same River Twice
Heraclitus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC, Greece)

John Hoby, Millwater

John Mulholland, Warkworth

Maartje Zandboer, The Hague,
The Netherlands

Naomi Roche, Waikato

Lipika Sen & Prabhjyot Majithia, Auckland

Peter Scott, Kerikeri

Piet Nieuwland, Whangārei

Robert Brown, Whangaparaoa

Sam Melser, Auckland

Sonja van Kerkhoff, Kawakawa

Tash Nikora, Whangārei

Tracy Singer, Auckland

Ursula Christel (Mokopōpaki), Warkworth

Yllwbro Te Ara ki Rangihoua: The Way to Rangihoua, 2018 Scallop shells, brown string, moko adhesive Courtesy the artists and Mokopōpaki, Auckland

Yllwbro Te Ara ki Rangihoua: The Way to Rangihoua, 2018 Scallop shells, brown string, moko adhesive.
Courtesy the artists and Mokopōpaki, Auckland

Yllwbro (Mokopōpaki), North Island

Geoff Wilson Gallery, NorthTec, Gate 3, 51 Raumanga Valley Road, Whangarei

Opening 4-7p.m., 21 Feb 2020

open: 12 – 4 p.m. Wednesdays – Fridays,
and by appointment.

facebook event page for this exhibition

Geoff Wilson Gallery facebook page

northtec.ac.nz/geoff wilson gallery

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.