Month: June 2015

A Convenient Default at Pilot Gallery

What does a tower of sardine tins on the gallery floor and a man pinning up squares of white cardboard sheets on a gallery wall have in common? It’s all in the title of the show at Pilot Gallery, Hamilton, called, A Convenient Default. Artist Ammon Ngakuru is author of the silver stack of tins that exhibit a clean metallic appearance (devoid of any wrappings) and is simply entitled, Sardines. At a little over waist height, this singular construction of preserves call immediately to mind Warhol’s ubiquitous soup cans. But the artist is not concerned with any Pop Art points of interest here. Rather this lowly collection of turreted tins references in a comically manner the cheap default food that might be purchased by struggling artists trying to make a precarious living. The structure of the tins present in their repetitive formation a sculptural shape that takes on the appearance of any stack of cans appearing in a supermarket, and thus become, by default, a work of art. Joe Prisk, the second artist exhibiting in …

For Luck at Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Thoughts On Ideology and Dandelions: A Commentary on Zina Swanson’s Exhibition, For Luck, at Dunedin Public Art Gallery 2015 Zina Swanson’s exhibition, For Luck, made me think about the different kinds of beliefs and rituals we have in relation to nature. Inspired by the superstitions we continue to enact in relation to the natural world, For Luck draws attention to the way we still blow a dandelion head and make a wish, even though we don’t really believe it will come true. Such superstitious beliefs relating to fortune rest behind all of the material artefacts included in the exhibition, which references the domestic space of cleansing (the bathroom in particular, complete with tiled surfaces, plug hole, hair net and bath towel). A dandelion ready to be blown, wishbones, eyelashes on the back of a hand ready to be thrown over a shoulder, lucky bamboo, the four leaf clover, and an acorn in a pocket – all are arranged or drawn in an anticipation of luck. But as we are invited to have faith, doubt festers. …

Haruki Murakami at The Auckland Writers Festival

A quiet hum settles around the full-to-capacity ASB theatre that, for this event sold out in three days. John Freeman recites the history of Haruki Murakami who has published best sellers both in Japan and Internationally. He is known as a contemporary Japanese author who attracts critical attention from the Japanese literary establishment for his un-Japanese fiction. Thunderous applause erupts as Haruki walks onto the stage wearing a green ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ t-shirt under his dinner jacket. Small and athletic, he looks much younger than his 69 years. When asked questions, Haruki often replies in a slow deliberate manner. ‘ I wanted to write,’ pause, ‘ I was afraid I cannot write,’ and the audience waits, ‘so I caught the fear in my palms. I started to write.’ Haruki wrote a 200-page novel titled Hear The Wind Sing, and entered it in a literary competition. It won and so began his writing career. Haruki describes how he wakes at 4am, makes a coffee, plays quiet jazz music and sits down to write. ‘When …

a slow dance to elevator music at FUZZYVIBES

I am on perhaps the third step down before I notice how soft the ground is underfoot. Carpet muffles my entrance and I feel oddly elated to have picked up on this, the first in a series of spatial interventions so subtle that those unfamiliar with the space are heard to wonder, where is the art? FUZZYVIBES’ usual white-cube whiteness of walls and fluorescents has been replaced (or displaced) by creamy bland Spanish White and the kind of banal wall sconces one assumes will always command prime shelf space at the local Placemakers. The details are so insipid they are almost camouflaged, until you look again and notice the extremity of their insipidity. When I enter, the immediate space at the bottom of the stairs is empty of bodies, and yet it feels smaller than I remember, and then I realise that’s because it is. There is a charismatic buzz of voices, made enigmatic behind blue vertical blinds, which it occurs to me I haven’t seen in a long time. We had blinds like this …