Peter Roche: Tribal Fictions

3 October – 3 November 1996

Born in Auckland in 1957, Peter Roche graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Elam School of Fine Arts in 1979. He began his career as a performance artist and between 1979 and 1984 staged twenty five performances (each unique) in collaboration with Linda Buis. For the last eight years Roche has produced kinetic sculpture for installations throughout New Zealand, but recently made a return to more performance-orientated work. In 1993 Roche's work was part of the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery.

With Tribal Fictions, Peter Roche continues an exploration of the relationship between people and machines and the increasingly dominant effect of technology on society. His sculptural creations also allude to the role modern surveillance techniques play in our everyday lives.

The McDougall Annex will be filled with large, highly polished, intensely reflective black enamel discs which lean against the specially painted blue-black walls. The strange emblems and symbols embedded in the discs are made from discarded circuit boarded and, lit solely from behind, will glitter like stars in the otherwise dark gallery.

Roche's discs relate to each other in design-like mechanical parts, they interlock and operate together to create a sinisterly dehumanised narrative. Simple in content, sophisticated in execution, the meaning orbs are the futuristic cave drawings of a society controlled by its technology.

Like giant eyes or lenses, the discs will observe visitors to the Annex from every wall. From the moment of our entry into the Annex space, we are monitored and scrutinised in an ominous, silent, vigil in which the viewer becomes the viewed.

Tribal Fictions is proudly supported by Resene Colour Paints.

('Peter Roche: Tribal Fictions', Bulletin, No.104, October/November 1996, p.3)

This exhibition was held at the McDougall Art Annex in the Arts Centre.