Stealing the Senses
Stealing the Senses 12 March–6 June 2011Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Cnr Queen and King Sts New Plymouth 4342 Aotearoa New Zealand www.govettbrewster.com
Artists: Brook Andrew, Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan, David Chesworth and Sonia Leber, Karl Fritsch, Martino Gamper and Francis Upritchard, Sara Hughes, Jon McCormack, Callum Morton, Anton Parsons, Pinaree Sanpitak, Tiffany Singh, John Ward Knox, Jennifer Wen Ma. Curated by Rhana Devenport Inhabiting their own potential moment of encounter, certain artworks have the capacity to create heterotopias of the senses. Remembering Foucault’s concept in human geography, heterotopia describes place and spaces of otherness. This exhibition offers an accumulation of work by international and Aotearoa New Zealand artists whose practices offer sensory and immersive encounters and thus propose new avenues to our phenomenological experience of the world. Included are Brook Andrew’s room-sized participatory inflatable The Cell; a participatory accumulative project, Passage, by Isabel and Alfredo Aquilizan; Almost Always Everywhere Apparent, a sound environment by Sonia Leber and David Chesworth; a pseudo-domestic environment by jeweller Karl Fritsch, furniture designer Martino Gamper and sculptor Francis Upritchard who have been working collaboratively in Taranaki for three months; a site-specific project by Sara Hughes that consumes all surfaces of the Cafe Govett-Brewster in graphic representations of current economic shifts; Eden, a self-generating eco-system by Jon McCormack; architectural interventions from the permanent Govett-Brewster collection by Callum Morton and by Anton Parsons; a Breast Stupa Cookery performance by Pinaree Sanpitak working with bakers from the Parihaka Maori community; Einstein was a Buddhist, a project of participation and devotion by Tiffany Singh; a sculptural disruption by John Ward Knox; and Three more hours, a projected animation on smoke by Jennifer Wen Ma. As Michael Taussig writes in Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular history of the Senses: ‘…the mimetic faculty carries out its honest labor suturing nature to artifice and bringing sensuousness to sense by means of what was once called sympathetic magic…’ The majority of the works are newly commissioned site-specific projects and collectively form a passage of immersive environments in various and extended reaches of the gallery, literally spilling out into the cafe, the fire escape, into ceilings, the street, through corridors and into the sky at dusk. The works address thematic concerns and issues spanning from the psychology of incarceration to cosmology, from the sensual usefulness of domestic-scaled functional objects to integrated systems of artificial life. What is shared in these works is a concern for activation or interaction through human sensory perception. An exploration of the impact of immersive experience is offered primarily through visceral rather than virtual means. Through stealing our senses for a dedicated time, in a dedicated place and space, artists corral our attention to multivalent ideas about the forces and sensibilities of contemporary living. ALSO SHOWING: Dane Mitchell: Radiant Matter Part 1 5 March–29 May 2011 Curated by Mercedes Vicente The Gallery’s New Zealand Artist in Residence engages with the concept of the ‘vaporous’, as suspended in the air, in a state between matter and gas. Working with a perfumer in Spain and a glass-blower in New Zealand, Mitchell plays with making the intangible tangible and the possibilities of perfume’s ability to fill space sculpturally. Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Cnr Queen and King Sts New Plymouth 4342 Aotearoa New Zealand *Image above: Commissioned by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, and presented in association with the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Photo by Paul Green.