A striking and immersive moving image work by renowned Māori artist Lisa Reihana has been revealed as the focus of the 2015 Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) Foundation Appeal.
QAGOMA Foundation President, Tim Fairfax AC said that the 2015 Appeal is aimed at complementing the Gallery’s existing holdings of contemporary Pacific art by raising funds to acquire the ambitious four channel video.
‘For the 2015 Appeal, we turn our attention towards the Pacific and the captivating video, in Pursuit of Venus [infected] 2015 – Lisa Reihana’s most ambitious work to date. Six years in the making, this contemporary masterwork transforms static historical images into a deeply moving retelling of history, giving a fascinating insight into Māori and Pacific culture in the 1800s,’ Mr Fairfax said.
QAGOMA Director Chris Saines CNZM said the important work was inspired by a nineteenth-century wallpaper produced c.1804 by popular French wallpaper and fabric manufacturer Joseph Dufour & Cie. The wallpaper pattern called Les Sauvages de la mer Pacifique drew on various sources, including the exploratory journeys of Captain Cook, to depict actual and invented scenes drawn from everyday life in early-1800s South Pacific. These are rendered in an extraordinarily complex 1,000-block relief print, stencil and hand-painted process across 20 individual ‘drops’ totalling 2.5 metres high by 10.5 metres across.
‘Two hundred years after these scenes were first depicted on the Dufour wallpaper, Reihana’s contemporary reimagining takes the form of a mesmerising and immersive multi-channel panoramic video spanning four screens.’
‘By bringing to life the characters in the original wallpaper through this contemporary performance, Reihana’s video restages and reclaims these historical stories with an informed critique of colonial representations of the time.’
The 2015 Foundation Annual Appeal was launched at the Queensland Art Gallery on Saturday 9 May. Over 80 guests came together to hear the artist in conversation with QAGOMA Director Chris Saines and Maud Page, Deputy Director, Collection and Exhibitions, and to experience the moving tableau as it premiered at the Gallery.
in Pursuit of Venus [infected] will be on display at the Queensland Art Gallery until early 2016. For more information or to donate, please visit our website.
Lisa Reihana was awarded the 2014 Laureate Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand with in Pursuit of Venus [infected] hailed as a major departure. A version of the work was recently nominated for the prestigious Signature Art Prize. Reihana regularly exhibits in group and solo exhibitions, most recently at Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, New Zealand (2011), and the Plug Inn Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, Canada (2011). Works by the artist are held in private and public collections including Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Australia National Gallery, Canberra, and the Staatliche Museum, Berlin.