Contact: Artists from Aotearoa/New Zealand
Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany 2012
Excerpt from Frankfurter Kunstverein
The term “contact” refers to the network of relationships between the two dominant ethnicities in bi-cultural Aotearoa/New Zealand: the indigenous population of Māori and the white settlers, “Pakeha”. Video works by Lisa Reihana, for example, deal with themes of cultural oppression, the search for cultural identity, and the struggle for self-determination.
New technologies and old myths are intertwined in works by Rachael Rakena, while Francis Upritchard creates new, hybrid forms based on historical objects. Issues related to the complexity of multicultural society in the scope of a powerful influx of immigrants from the Polynesian islands, as well as the fate of a life in exile, are reflected in the photographs of Edith Amituanai. “Contact” not only presented works that artistically address socio-cultural conflicts in today’s Aotearoa/New Zealand, but also ones of a more poetic nature, like works by Dane Mitchell or site-specific installations by John Ward-Knox.
“Contact” outlines a complex portrait of artistic production of the last forty years in Aoteaora/New Zealand. Here works are not used to illustrate a single thematic point, rather the aim is to create a multifaceted perspective of a highly active and heterogeneous artistic scene within the context of a contemporary dialogue.
The title of the exhibition is expanded conceptually to include the artistic methods and processes of painters like Judy Miller, who, alongside Francis Upritchard, represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2009, or Simon Ingram, who employs a programmatic approach devoid of subjective intervention in his “Automata Paintings”.
Curators: Leonhard Emmerling, Aaron Kreisler
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