Archive for January 13th, 2011

13
Jan
11

The Queensland Floods and Its Effect on the Arts

Suncorp Stadium DelugeThursday, 13 January 2011

The Queensland Floods and Its Effect on the Arts

I’ve been to Brisbane a number of times, and I am certain just like everyone else, I watched in disbelief as familiar sites and spaces were being inundated with water.

The up-to-date broadcasts informed the country and the world about the human drama and devastation brought on by this tragic deluge, and the image of the flooded Suncorp Stadium became a silent symbol of the submerged metropolis.

I could not believe my eyes as the camera on a helicopter panned over East Brisbane’s arts precinct and clearly showed the Queensland Art Gallery and the neighbouring Gallery of Modern Art surrounded by water. It made me suddenly realise that very little has been said or reported on how the floods have affected the arts. There was an ABC report about the Queensland Art Gallery moving artworks to the upper floors; and some Brisbane-based commercial galleries reassured their artists that all artworks in their care were taken to storages at higher grounds.

Outside East Brisbane's Arts PrecinctTV footage provided the first-hand evidence that QAG and GoMA’s ground floors and any subterranean spaces were most likely flooded. However, there were no reports to date how the floods affected regional art centres of Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Ipswich, and other flood-affected areas.

One suspects it will be a long while before the true effect of the Queensland and Northern New South Wales floods on the arts are calculated. It is not only buildings and collections of public and commercial galleries that would be included in these grim calculations, but presumably also private collections that may have been lost or damaged as the result of the deluge; public sculpture and other public works of art; contents of artists’ studios; historical buildings and monuments; libraries and archives.

One could also potentially add such intellectual property that may have been stored on numerous computers perished in floods like digital archives; curatorial and academic research materials; writers and playwright’s drafts and digitised manuscripts, etc.

Although it might be possible to restore some of the artworks and historical buildings affected by the floods; those private and corporate collections that have been adequately insured might even spark a brisk trading on the art market in an attempt to replace destroyed artworks with insurance money. But, inevitably, a number of original, irreplaceable works of art will be lost forever to history and posterity.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgement.]

 

Advertisements
13
Jan
11

Queensland Floods

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Queensland Floods

Words seem inadequate.

I shall let the pictures do the talking.

 

Queensland Floods

Queensland Floods

Queensland Floods

Queensland Floods

Queensland Floods

Queensland Floods

I am grateful to a friend of mine for bringing these images by American photographer Daniel Munoz to my attention.

13
Jan
11

Unnerved: Lisa Reihana

Lisa Reihana - MahuikaTuesday, 11 January 2011

Unnerved: Lisa Reihana

Among the works in the Unnerved exhibition that left the most indelible impression or me are Lisa Reihana’s (1964-) photographs from Digital Marae series. The works display a photographic excellence in the area of digital photography, and present a combination of strong character studies of her sitters and models, which are at the same time composite portraits of cultural proto- and stereotypes.

The title of the series refers to marae, meeting houses that are central to Maori community life. The installation of the photographs in a separate, almost enclosed space creates a secluded setting and a temple-like atmosphere for the contemplation of these images.

Lisa Reihana - MauiParalleling mythological traditions of other cultures, Maori ancestral deities do not occupy a definite time space and do not possess a fixed gender. Therefore, Reihana’s images of over-life-size figures represent a visual collision of historical narratives and contemporary reality, and feature iconographic signifiers of indigenous and colonial-cum-western societies. Traditional tools, elements of dress and body tattoos are placed side by side with a Le Corbusier chair, contemporary surf-board, or a historically-accurate eighteenth-Century costume.

Lisa Reihana, 'Dandy' from Digital Marae, 2007Among the most striking works in this installation are the portrait of an elderly personage in Mahuika (2001), which is taken from a low view-point, emphasizing the pathos of the image and elevating its subject physically and psychologically above the viewer; the equally monumental Maui (2007), where the powerful figure of the mythical ancestral deity is placed at the point of psychological invasion of the viewer’s space; and the unforgettable and iconic Dandy (2007), used for the cover of the exhibition catalogue, where the relief Jacquard embroideries of the model’s costume echo the traditional tattoo designs on his face.

In a similar vein to the works of other artists in this exhibition, Lisa Reihana explores New Zealand’s historically and mythologically rich cultural traditions, probes her country’s post-colonial identity, and creates new iconography for the culturally-diverse society of today.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]

13
Jan
11

Unnerved: The New Zealand Project

Yvonne ToddMonday, 10 January 2011

Unnerved: The New Zealand Project

Unnerved: The New Zealand Project is the second region-specific exhibition from the Queensland Art Gallery, currently on view at the National Gallery of Victoria. It focuses on New Zealand’s contemporary art, and includes paintings, drawings, watercolours, sculpture, photography, installation, video and performance works by such New Zealand artists as Michael Parekowai, Mark Adams, Gavin Hipkins, Lisa Reihana, Duncan Cole, Greg Semu, Yvonne Todd, John Pule, Shane Cotton, Lorene Taurerewa, and numerous others.

The exploration of New Zealand’s contemporary culture and post-colonial identity is the common thread that unites the works of disparate genres and diverse media in the show. The majority of artists in this exhibition are of Maori, Samoan and other Pacific Islanders’ descent, which informs many of the works. Their “bi-cultural” concerns as well as the underlying psychological darkness can (perhaps) only be related in this country to the works of some of our urban indigenous artists.

New Zealand’s natural, breathtaking beauty provides a wonderful source of inspiration to such landscape photographers as Mark Adams (1949-), who poetically captures in Indian Island 360* Panorama (1998/2006) an important site of historic significance. The country’s people, places, and playgrounds allowed Gavin Hipkins (1968-) to explore the country’s composite cultural identity – from high to low and everything in-between – in a complex photographic installation The Homely (1997-2000) that spans the length of three walls.

Michael Parekowhai’s (1968-) giant rabbit greets the visitors as they enter the National Gallery; it’s Disney-like cuteness belies the artist’s concern about the impact of rabbits, introduced species, on New Zealand’s environment. In a similar vein is his Acts II, which disguises tools of colonisation as a DYI die-cast plastic toy set. His black seal balancing a giant piano on the tip of its nose in The Horn of Africa echo the topographical outlines of New Zealand and reference the reputation of the North Island as a business and cultural hub, and of the South Island as a tourist attraction.

Greg Semu - Self PortraitDuncan Cole (1968-) and Shigeyuki Kihara (1975-) reprise in their works popular 19th-Century photographs of New Zealand’s “ethnographic specimens”, replacing them with a cast of contemporary characters, which are representative of the “new tribes” within the present-day street culture. Greg Semu’s (1971-) self-portraits explore traditional Maori body tattoos, pe’a, in the context of the contemporary male nude photography.

Western European culture and traditional iconographies of Maori, Samoa, and other Pacific Island groups continue to collide in paintings by John Pule (1962-) and Shane Cotton (1964-); while the most exquisite ink drawings of Lorene Taurerewa (1961-), Psychopompe, pick up the dark psychological undertones which are prevalent throughout the exhibition, including Yvonne Todd’s (1973-) exquisite portrait photographs that ruminate about  the universality of America-centric dreams of ideal beauty and white weddings, or Anne Noble’s (1954-) “mutilations” of her daughter’s tongue.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]

13
Jan
11

NGV Old European Masters: Jacob Jordaens

NGV - Jacob Jordaens - Mercury and ArgusSunday, 9 January 2011

NGV Old European Masters: Jacob Jordaens

Another little gem of the National Gallery’s collection is Mercury and Argus by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678). Jordaens was an interesting artist inasmuch as his skills in rendering birds and animals was so highly regarded, that Peter Paul Rubens, the most outstanding artist of the Flemish Baroque period, employed Jordaens in his studio to paint the creatures within the backgrounds of his own works. Jordaens’s picture in the NGV’s collection bears witness to his superior skills in this metier.

NGV - Jacob Jordaens - ArgusThe painting is inspired by a legend from Greco-Roman mythology, according to which Jupiter, the principal Olympian deity, fell in love with a nymph Io. In order to hide his amorous dalliances from his jealous wife, Juno, Jupiter turned Io into a white heifer (presumably turning Io back into a woman when making love to her…). Nevertheless, Juno got the wind of her husband’s latest infidelity, and sent her servant Argus to keep a watchful eye on Io the cow. Argus had 100 eyes all over his body, and thus the creature never slept, always keeping a watchful eye, preventing Jupiter’s further trysts with Io (the reader might recall that a number of British and Australian newspapers were also called Argus in an allusion to this watchful, ever-seeing creature!).

Jordaens illustrated the next moment of the narrative, where Jupiter sent the messenger god Mercury to lull Argus to sleep with a sonorous melody from his flute (which we see resting in the left foreground of the picture). Mercury is reaching out for his sword and is about to slay the sleeping Argus and set Io free. The artist simplified the painting and eschewed depicting Argus’s one hundred sleeping eyes. Instead, he concentrated on juxtaposing the muscular suppleness of Mercury’s body against the tanned sagging skin of the ageing Argus.

NGV - Jacob Jordaens - Mercury

The rest of the story went as follows: Juno mourned the slain Argus, and placed his one  hundred eyes on tail feathers of the peacock, which thence became her sacred bird. She also sent a gadfly to mercilessly bite the liberated Io, chasing her out to Africa. The name of the place where she crossed from one continent to another is called Bosporus (in modern-day Turkey), which some etymologists claim to mean an ox passage.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]




Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

January 2011
M T W T F S S
« Dec   Mar »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 102 other followers