''True stories/Scripted realities'' (Dunedin Public
There will be -, by Kerry Tribe.
''True stories/Scripted realities'' is a series of video
installations, each examining the nature of reality in
narrative. Bridging the borders between naturalistic and
scripted, truth and propaganda, the artists have produced
''mediated accounts''. Each plays with the concepts of
cinematic truth and its manipulations.
The installations attack the theme from disparate but
overlapping angles. Liam Gillick and Anton Vidokle question
the nature of art within society through discussion and
through the re-creation of discussion as a stage play. Andrea
Geyer looks at political and judicial courts as stage
performance, presenting a re-enactment of Adolf Eichmann's
war crimes trial using a single actor in multiple roles.
Kerry Tribe also delves into criminal trials, examining the
limits and power of re-enactment and its potential both to
enhance and to mislead a case.
Omer Fast's The casting is an intriguing work
featuring a discussion with a returned soldier. Two of his
anecdotes, one of Iraq and one of Germany, have been
interwoven into one narrative. The non-sequitur cuts between
the two become disturbing as the nature of memory and reality
are called into question by the work. In the final set of
videos, by Yael Bertana, the tools of political propaganda
are brought to bear with great effect on a tale of a revival
of European Jewish culture.
''The recent violence he represents, come to be
emotional simplicity'', James Bellaney (Mint Gallery)
is a world with barren dance, by James Bellaney.
Maori cosmology provides the spark of inspiration for a
series of abstract works by James Bellaney at Mint Gallery.
The protagonists of the Maori creation myth are the earth and
sky, Papatuanuku and Ranginui, pushed apart by their son
Tane, along with Tawhirimatea, the weather god, whose
constant winds are evidence of his anger at what his brother
Tane has done. Hine-nui-te-po, goddess of the underworld and
sunset is also evoked in these paintings.
The mixed-media pieces, which have watercolour as a main
element, use an effective limited palette of earth tones,
blacks, and whites. Highlighted elements in bright red
provide some needed colour to the works. These are colours
which reflect both the mud and stone of newly-formed earth
and the traditional colours of pre-colonial Maori art. A
constant element in the works is the circle, its strong,
complete form indicating the cycle of life and of karma, and
also of the oneness of all creation.
An aleatory element has been introduce to the works by means
of using a cut-up technique to arrive at the titles of the
paintings and of the exhibition itself. In this way, viewers
can read into the titles whatever they wish, potentially
colouring their views of the works' natures.
''The Last Supper and other stories, part one'', Cath
Cocker (Dowling Street Project)
The last supper (detail), by Cath Cocker.
Cath Cocker's brief exhibition (which ends tomorrow) at the
Dowling Street Project space attempts to tie together several
broad concepts of literal and metaphorical colonialism.
Drawing from influences ranging from Vitruvius to Duchamp by
way of Leonardo da Vinci and Orientalism, the artist has
produced three interconnected installations. The central work
is an inverted Marxist statement - opium as a religion for
the masses, the poppies arrayed as the characters in
Leonardo's Last Supper. Each individual
string-and-paint work is well crafted, the whole serving as a
poignant statement of the striving for the unobtainable
nirvana and crushing downside of both drugs and religion.
A quotation by William Burroughs provides the title for Le
Hombre Invisible, a delicate oriental screen lit from
behind and again featuring a tracery of poppy patterns. The
colonial history which sought to keep China dependent on
opium and render a potential power as an invisible, silent
force is here invoked.
Between these two works is a smaller, gentle installation,
yet one which draws from older sources, namely master Roman
architect and military engineer Vitruvius, and the legend of
Tantalus - tortured by being close to water yet unable to
drink. The Tantalus legend again reflects the idea of the
quest for the unobtainable, as offered by the drugs of opium