Mark Adams is one of New Zealand’s foremost documentary photographers. His work on Samoan Tattau, Maori-Pakeha interactions in and around Rotorua, and the documentation of Cook’s landing sites reflect his engagement with our postcolonial Pacific history.
“His work is an engagement with the deep artful, bloody and inextricably complicated histories of colonialism in the Pacific”. Nicholas Thomas, in Cook’s Sites.
Mark Adams travels to the places where Cook landed in the South Pacific, instilling a haunting sense of presence to these sites, Adams photographically commemorates the instant of encounter, defining it as a moment of discovery, violence and mutual reciprocity. For this series Mark also focuses on key historic sites illustrated by painters William Hodges and John Webber who accompanied Cook on his voyages. His portrayal allows us to look out from these paintings and reassess the history of these culturally loaded locations. As Adams has often said, he likes to invert the colonial gaze, highlighting the complications of representation.
Mark Adams' Land of Memories series is also concerned with the layers of meaning inscribed into the landscape by our culture. Taken with signature long exposures, they appear painterly and ghostly, emphasising the temporal nature of the images and the fluidity of meaning associated with these places.
The Telegraph described it as an "ambitious and astonishing exhibition" while Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones declared he didn't just like the art but wanted to live in the world it portrays. He also speculated that modernist masters like Picasso were more influenced by Oceanic art than we might have previously realised.The opening...