Te Whakawhitinga is a haerenga, a journey. It is not a long film, approximately eleven minutes total, but the geography it covers stretches from Te Tai Tōkerau in the North to Ōtautahi in Te Waipounamu; from early adulthood to old age; and from the time of Te Pākanga Tuarua o te Ao, World War II, to the present. Te Whakawhitinga follows this narrative like a stone skimming across water: touching down at points, at others flying across space-time with the momentum of recall.
Our histories are always with us, but who is telling the story? The Gallery’s new collection hang, Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection offers up a range of different perspectives on how the past and future might intersect, and invites us to rethink how we commonly see our heritage. Here, the exhibition’s curators have each selected a work from the exhibition for a closer look.
My encounters with Grant Lingard’s works have been few and fleeting. My information derives largely from the archive. The show has yet to open and I know only the title. But I am deep in speculation about what it will bring.
Kommi: This is a courteous introductory message to the two of ya’ll and regarding the collab comms between Turumeke and I, and the editing of it by Kirsty, along with additional notes/commentary as like a third voice freaky irirangi concept (but in written/electronic messaging/note adding stuff form),* all towards the art concept workings and discussions in conversations leading to the finished arts ’n’ stuff resulting in a publication of our ponderings and explorations within te ao buzzy buzzy art stuff that we gonna do. I hope my whakamārama there was nice ’n’ clear.
Tui/Turumeke this is Kirsty. Kirsty, this is Tui/Turumeke.
Turumeke: Kia ora! Great articulation Kom!
Kirsty: Wait? Have we started? Was that a test? Hahaha
Orange peel, ant’s eye, hibiscus flower, rhubarb, bacteria, a space blob, a virus, an x-ray of a human skull – human, non-human, inhuman, entangled and disordered. In the Atlas of Anti-Taxonomies, artist Alicia Frankovich groups these things by difference rather than sameness, showing them to have dynamic relationships and visual rhythms. Consisting of over 100 images that the artist has gathered, constructed and found, Frankovich’s carefully selected and arranged collections of phenomena, beings and objects glow from lightboxes hung throughout the gallery space. Their collated, overlapping and montaged images are wild and vibrant. Their placement on the large screens feels momentary, as though this is just one iteration of many possible permutations, disrupting any typical or static taxonomical order. In making this work, Frankovich has drawn on the extensive body of research around posthuman ecologies, decolonising nature and queer theory, underscoring this beautiful exhibition with complex ideas of domination and control.
From the side of a hill the woman and child – ectomorphic – hunting for cockles, look like wading birds. Siblings climb on top of each other and hold handstands like circus-adjacent cheerleaders in tie-dyed active-wear. Two write code and scale limestone boulders, competing with each other almost good-naturedly without mats. Weeds and things scrounged – pipi, lemons, parsley, small mushrooms, seaweed and bracken fronds – are eaten with brown rice. Later there are bruised peaches, grapefruit and hard pears with a whiff of quince kept in a bowl for the colours and smells – green, orange, gold, purple, brown, grey, black.
It is interesting to ponder how makers involved in the Arts and Crafts Movement might respond if they were able to see their works on display in galleries today. While exhibitions on a range of scales were central to the Arts and Crafts, and played a key role in how its ideas and objects reached new audiences and took root across the world, today’s retrospective explorations of the Movement are to some extent testament to the fact that it never revolutionised art and life to the extent that its protagonists had initially hoped.
In 2017, Petrena Fishburn wrote in this magazine about the innovative art dealer and arts advocate Barbara Brooke. In this issue, we pay tribute to Judith MacFarlane (née Gifford), who co-founded Christchurch’s Brooke Gifford Gallery with Barbara Brooke in 1975 and – following Brooke’s death in 1980 – went on to turn it into one of New Zealand’s longest-running commercial galleries and a respected mainstay of the Ōtautahi Christchurch arts scene. Over that time, she offered early opportunities that helped launch the careers of many of Aotearoa’s now most recognised artists. Judith was a woman with a great eye, wonderful style and a tenacious belief in the importance of contemporary art.