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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Peter Robinson

b. 1966, New Zealand

Peter Robinson is an important figure in the wave of second generation Māori artists that emerged in the late eighties from the School of Fine Arts (Ilam) at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Robinson was born in Ashburton, Canterbury in 1966, and currently lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. Well known in New Zealand for dealing with issues such as race relations in a provocative and controversial manner, Peter Robinson's practice has been characterised by elements of shock and surprise. He has continually shifted tack throughout his career in his use of materials and techniques and the content he addresses.

His work seems to exist in a constant state of flux and change and his subject matter also appears to swing between an articulation of intellectual ideas and pop culture but certain forms and ideas run through his practice. Originally trained as a sculptor, he has also worked in painting, drawing, installation and digital media. His style has varied from rough hand written text on placards to the slick, clean aesthetic of digital prints.

Robinson's early works were concerned with personal and racial issues as he analysed and responded to his part-Maori heritage. He used painting and sculpture to wittily critique assumed aspects of bi-culturalism, the branding of ethnicity, and careerist strategizing - while simultaneously embracing them. He created a series known as the Percentage Paintings in the early 1990s that discussed his specific racial make-up. The works posed the question to the viewer – should a percentage of Maori blood determine his personal and social character, and his importance as an artist? He found that art critics began to stereotype him as a Maori artist but that personally he was not able to work in traditional Maori forms because this felt 'inauthentic'. Recognising this he changed direction and shocked art critics by adopting both Pakeha (non-Maori) and Maori voices often in a contradictory way. From this bi-cultural perspective Robinson could incisively comment on the complexities of race relations, both historical and contemporary, in New Zealand.

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In Related Press

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Robinson and Lai at Hopkinson Mossman Related Press Robinson and Lai at Hopkinson Mossman EyeContact : 5 June 2018

In this exhibition that with its Spinning title refers to the fairytale Rumpelstiltskin, and with some of its filament-like items, the companion story Rapunzel, Peter Robinson teams up with the Malaysian artist Philip Lai. Lai is in Gallery One, and Robinson in the larger Gallery Two. Some of Robinson's spiralling wire works on the walls look like...

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Robinson Adds to his Felt Related Press Robinson Adds to his Felt EyeContact : 16 February 2017

A solo show where he mixes his trademark die-cut felt with many other materials, Peter Robinson's After Party displays the linear properties of threaded (compressible) felt but now presented alongside suspended wire, crumpled paper, plastic straws, rubber loops, metal blocks, Plasticine balls, cut Perspex, pieces of carpet, cardboard boxes and...

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The safety of objects at Jakarta Biennale Related Press The safety of objects at Jakarta Biennale Artforum : 26 November 2015

With blockbuster biennials increasingly wedded to the galleries underwriting them, the term “biennial art”—the European second cousin of “commercial” art—no longer holds the same currency. When it comes to events off the beaten track, however, exhibitions often build credibility through following “biennial...

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Charles Esche on the 2015 'Jakarta Biennale' Related Press Charles Esche on the 2015 'Jakarta Biennale' Flash Art : 12 November 2015

The 2015 Jakarta Biennale, titled Maju Kena, Mundur Kena: Bertindak Sekarang (Neither Forward nor Back: Acting in the Present), runs from November 15, 2015, through January 17, 2016.Charles Esche, director of the Van Abbemuseum, is collaborating with six emerging Indonesian curators to question what it means to act as artists and cultural...

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