April 24, 2017 - New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - Lisa Reihana: Emissaries
April 24, 2017

New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Lisa Reihana: Emissaries. Courtesy New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Lisa Reihana
May 13–November 26, 2017

Meet the artist and curator (press interviews): May 10–11, Meet artist Lisa Reihana and curator Rhana Devenport: 10 at 2:30pm; 11 at 11:30am

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New Zealand presents multimedia artist Lisa Reihana at the 57th Venice Biennale.

Artist: Lisa Reihana
Commissioner: Alastair Carruthers, CNZM
Curator: Rhana Devenport, Director, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Preview days: 10 – 12 May 2017

Lisa Reihana: Emissaries features the artist’s vast panoramic video in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17, alongside new interrelated photo-based and sculptural works. The exhibition will be presented at Tese dell’Isolotto, one of the oldest and most expansive Naval buildings in the Arsenale.

in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17, is a cinematic reimagining of the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, 1804–05, also known as "Captain Cook’s voyages." Two centuries later—and almost 250 years after the original voyages—Reihana uses 21st century digital technologies to animate the wallpaper scenes. It is a cultural endeavour of reclamation and reimagining with the artist re-casting the original European fabrication of the Pacific to suggest a more complex story.

in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17 offers an immersive filmic experience populated with characters drawn from across Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific and Enlgand. Reihana intensifies the death of Cook in Hawai’i as the dramatic moment of rupture. This and other narratives play out within a looping visual and sonic world where time is cyclical. Heightening the emotional arc of the work, an integrated soundscape weaves together live capture of performances, the winding of the original clock that accompanied Cook’s voyages, and rare recordings of the taonga pūoro (Māori instruments) he collected.

Reihana’s technically ambitious and poetically nuanced practice draws on fiction, historical evidence, mythology and kinship to disrupt notions of truth, gender and modes of representation. In Lisa Reihana: Emissaries, curated by Rhana Devenport, imperialism’s glare is returned with a speculative twist and the exhibition aims to unravel Enlightenment ideals and philosophy, the colonial impulse, and the distant yet pervasive gaze of power and desire.

A 144-page publication will accompany Lisa Reihana: Emissaries in both hardback and eBook formats. This publication will include texts by Rhana Devenport, Witi Ihimaera, Anne Salmond, Nikos Papastergiadis, Jens Hoffmann, Megan Tamati-Quennell, Vivienne Webb, Keith Moore and Andrew Clifford, as well as a conversation with Lisa Reihana and Brook Andrew.

Reihana’s (b.1964) work has featured in significant museums and major exhibition projects including Global Feminisms at Brooklyn Museum, the Yinchuan Biennial, the Havana Biennial, the Noumea Biennale, the Liverpool Biennial, the Adelaide International at Samstag Museum, the 12th Biennale of Sydney, the 2nd Auckland Triennial at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the 2nd and 4th Asia Pacific Triennials of Contemporary Art at Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific at Asia Society Museum, New York, Suspended Histories at Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, Toronto, The Trickster at Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, South Korea, and Toi Toi Toi at Museum Fridericianum, Kassel. Reihana’s work was recently included in the inaugural Honolulu Biennial 2017, a multi-site, contemporary visual arts festival.

Of Māori (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tu) and British descent, Reihana lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.

New Zealand’s arts development agency, Creative New Zealand, funds and manages New Zealand’s presence at the Venice Biennale, with support from generous patrons, partners and sponsors. Creative New Zealand is pleased to again work with Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa as Key Partner and for the first time with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki as Presenting Partner. New Zealand has exhibited since 2001, with exhibitions by Peter Robinson and Jacqueline Fraser (2001), Michael Stevenson (2003), et al. (2005), Judy Millar and Francis Upritchard (2009), Michael Parekowhai (2011), Bill Culbert (2013) and Simon Denny (2015).

Press enquiries:
Kate Burvill: kateburvill [​at​] gmail.com / M +44 7947 754717
Janine Kersten: jkersten [​at​] agendacom.com / M +49 30 260 31 81

New Zealand Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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