Friday, September 29, 2017

Lisa Reihana in Venice

Bill and I found lots of interesting art at both sites of the Venice Biennale this year.
At the Arsenale site we were thrilled by New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana's astonishing panoramic video: Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015-2017.
The projected image fills an 85 foot-long screen. It depicts an idealized South Pacific landscape which slowly rotates -- the images slides off the screen to the left, as a new landscape swings into view on the right.
Reihana digitally inserts "live action" performers into her "painted"landscape.
 Each "scene" is an independent narrative vignette.
 We witness the landings of Captain Cook and his crew and the landings of two French explorers Jean-François de Galaup La Pérouse and Louis Antoine de Bougainville.
 We witness their encounters with a melange of Pacific Ocean islanders --
including, as stated in the catalogue: Nootka Sound, Hawai-i, Tahiti, Tonga, Cook Islands, Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
We may as well mention, quoting the catalogue again, that Reihana is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine and Ngāi Tū descent.
 She did a superb job of working with a variety of local actors, 
 and indigenous musicians
 and dancers.
Altogether it is a touching, entertaining and intellectually spiky experience.
Lots to think about while watching and much to digest afterwards. 
An overwhelming achievement. For more information here is a link to a short New Zealand TV news program about the work's premiere at the Auckland Art Gallery in 2015.

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