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Auckland Arts Festival Visual Arts Guide

18 Feb 2011
Major International artists Sarah Lucas (UK), Héctor Zamora (Mexico/Brazil) and Daniel Crooks (Melbourne-based New Zealander) headline a spectacular visual arts programme for Auckland Arts Festival 20

Major International artists Sarah Lucas (UK), Héctor Zamora (Mexico/Brazil) and Daniel Crooks (Melbourne-based New Zealander) headline a spectacular visual arts programme for Auckland Arts Festival 2011 (2-20  March), which includes exhibitions, public projects, events, artist talks and workshops. 

The full 2011 Visual Arts programme, whose dedicated guide booklet hits the streets today, is characterised by a number of themes and connections: a focus on the body and performance, the use of moving image, issues of community, identity and ecology. 



VISUAL ARTS SHOWCASED IN Auckland Arts Festival 2011

Auckland Arts Festival Visual Arts Manager, Ariane Craig-Smith says the strength of the 2011 programme is testament to the sophistication of Auckland’s Visual Arts scene, and the strong partnerships the Festival enjoys with the wider arts community.

“I’m particularly excited that artists with the international reputations of Sarah, Héctor and Daniel are spending time here during the Festival, and creating work that responds to the city, its people and environment,” she says.

“The opportunities for artistic exchange generated by their visits to New Zealand – and the participation of the other local and international artists, art galleries and institutions involved in this terrific programme – are what the festival is all about.”

Celebrated British sculptor, photographer and installation artist, Sarah Lucas (part of the notorious and celebrated YBAs - Young British Artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin who rose to prominence in the early 1990s) will be artist in residence at Two Rooms gallery.  Her works are characterised by confrontational humour, sexual puns and an ironic exploration of Englishness.  As her debut exhibition in New Zealand Lucas will show NUDS, a new sculptural series that references the formative, gender-orientated works of her early practice, and plans to create some new NUDS during her time here.

Héctor Zamora, also showing in New Zealand for the first time, is one of the most exciting artists to emerge from Mexico in the last decade.  He will produce a unique site-specific work for the Festival that will take two forms.  The first is a temporary public sculpture – made through public action – at Te Henga (Bethells Beach).  The second will be the attendant installation and documentation of that work at Shed 6.  Zamora visited Auckland in 2010 to research the project and returns to Auckland for the Festival, both visits in association with the Elam International Artist in Residence programme at Auckland University.

Australian-based Daniel Crooks returns to his home city to present two distinct works in very different Auckland venues.  Crooks’ ongoing investigation of motion and time in public space is explored in a new series of stills for the street level Bledisloe Walkway Light Boxes.  The works are produced from footage captured in Auckland during Crooks' December 2010 visit.  Two Rooms also presents Crooks’ stunning film work Static No. 12 (Stillness Seeks Movement), previously shown at the 17th Sydney Biennial, along with two new works.

The relationship between art and performance is strongly present in the Festival’s re-staging of Jim Allen's seminal 1974 performance series Contact and several other exhibitions, including performance design survey Fly-Tower and group show Alicia Frankovich / Laresa Kosloff / Ruth Proctor at Starkwhite, which brings together the work of three international artists who address the relationship between performative body and artwork object. 

Environmental concerns are explored in an exhibition curated by Lisa Reihana at Snowhite Gallery, Upstream, Midstream, Downstream, featuring the work of John Malcolm (UK/NZ) and the Center for Land Use Interpretation CLUI (USA).   The exhibition provides an arresting view of the world’s largest industry: the production, distribution, refining and retailing of petroleum. Australian artists Josephine Starrs and Leon Cmielewski focus on landscapes at risk from global warming with their installation at MIC Toi Rerehiko, Incompatible Elements.

Manukau-based Leilani Kake’s Ng? Hau e Wh? – The Four Winds, a video installation, powerfully examines the relationship between the body, identity and the politics of health. Kake focuses on the taboo of nudity and explores the politics and histories related to perceptions of the body for M?ori and Pacific women. This provocative video installation was inspired by startling statistics that revealed the unusually high incidence of preventable cancers in M?ori and Pacific Island women.  Identity is also central to Te Tuhi group exhibition, P?r?kau, featuring the works of artists from New Zealand, Cuba and Mexico, and The Heart of Everything, an exhibition of Aboriginal painting from the Mornington and Bentinck Islands at the Tim Melville Gallery.

The impact of moving image and digital technology is also a key refrain.  In addition to the work of Daniel Crooks, the international contingent includes pioneering video artist, Ko Nakajima.  In 1998 Nakajima was invited to New Zealand by TVNZ and commissioned to create a work for the programme Kaleidoscope.  The resulting work, RANGITOTO, was the first piece of video art to be broadcast full-length on national television.  Nakajima returns to New Zealand with his young protégé, Kentaro Taki, and both will lead a workshop, perform live and participate in public conversations alongside their exhibition, Video Life, as AUT’s ST PAUL St Gallery.  South African photographer, Pieter Hugo, gives an intriguing look behind the scenes of Nigeria’s famous B-grade films industry (the third largest in the world).  Look out also for a special edition of Viewfinder at the Auckland Library, curated by the New Zealand Film Archive.

The theme of community is prominent within the Festival’s programme, lead by Zamora’s public project.  Also centrally engaged with community is The Letting Space’s Shopfront by the Suburban Floral AssociationAcollaboration between Monique Redmond and Tanya Eccelston, the project recalls the floral artistry of festivals of the 1960s and 70s and will bring together people and plants through an abundance of “flowering events.”  Craig-Smith cites John Reynold’s I‘m Just Saying, a participatory project for Family Day – a call for kids to “make art not war” – as a personal pick.  “I’m Just Saying promises to be hilarious and entertaining – a classically Reynolds idea brought to life by kids on the day.” 

Finn Ferrier’s Look Here, a work in its own right within the Visual Arts Guide, invites audiences to look again at the city that surrounds them and the history that is literally embedded in the landscape.  And New Zealand’s rich ceramics tradition is celebrated with a retrospective of master maker Richard Parker at Objectspace, and an exhibition that looks at the groundbreaking work of the Auckland Studio Potters. 

The 2011 Festival will also see the first Australasian White Night event. White Night (aka Nuit Blanche) was introduced in Paris in 2001 and has spread through the world’s cultural capitals.  White Night events are celebrations of visual arts and culture, where galleries and museums stay open late into the night with special programming that transforms the central city into a huge art gallery. 

“We hope that White Night will become an annual event,” says Festival Artistic Director, David Malacari, “it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city’s museums and galleries and to build public engagement with the arts.”

With 56 galleries, museums and other venues open on one night, free buses connecting the six city precincts, as well as MOTAT and venues in South Auckland, and an incredible array of unique events and exhibitions on offer over six hours, Craig-Smith notes that “it’s a festival within the Festival and a night not to be missed.” 

White Night, the visits of Lucas, Zamora and Crooks and the wealth of Visual Arts content in the 2011 Festival is the result of extensive sector cooperation. 

“The Visual Arts programme is made possible by collaboration right across Auckland’s arts scene,” says Craig-Smith. “It has been a real joy to work with galleries, artists and arts organisations and feel the developing enthusiasm for Auckland Arts Festival as a platform for their work.”