'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...
There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...
Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...
the uncommon good is et al's first show in Christchurch since 2012. The aesthetic remains however, with text, erasure, found object and astute use of wall and floor space - activated with poise and an unerring beauty of touch.
For some, the look may be bleak: grey and black on newsprint, scribbled writing, black gaffer tape, and some spray can in fluoro pink. There are glimpses of yellow and gold. But the mark-making, composition and seemingly casual presentation is essential et al. It is a mode that those who follow have admired for its tenacity, integrity and political engagement for over 40 years now.
Here, pages of the New York Times are presented taped to the wall. Gleaned whilst in Maine earlier this year, these works are almost diaristic observations of the relentless narcissism and politics of power. This is certainly not the common good. It is Trump et al. And headlines dominated also by Islamic State, Zika, Turkey and the nuclear threat. et al's annotations look like redaction on official documents, hinting at on-going obfuscation and manipulation.
On one page from the Wall St Journal, August 22, 2016 in black on grey, et al has written "if the past has gone the present is not here and the future will not come". This attitude is familiar to Maori. The biggest new work in the show, called white cube brown room tin shed and turanga waka out the back, has a similar subtext. Its fluoro cross form reminds me of Maori sovereignty flags and Hotere's Black Union Jack. And it is sprayed over the floorplan for a Type 1 House, designed for Aborigines in corrugated iron and concrete by the state governments of Australia. The same plans are presented on the gallery floor, measured out in duct tape. The houses, including verandahs, are grotesquely small. So, uptake has been poor. The subjects of et al's research, it seems to me, are coming slowly home.
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