Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to eyeCONTACT, a forum built to encourage art reviews and critical discussion about the visual culture of Aotearoa New Zealand. I'm John Hurrell its editor, a New Zealand writer, artist and curator. While Creative New Zealand and other supporters are generously paying me and other contributors to review exhibitions over the following year, all expressed opinions are entirely our own.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Aerobics and ballet for artists

Holly Wilson: The Hardest Talent to Cultivate
A Centre For Art
11 November – 29 November 2008

A free-standing hoop propped up by clay chocks greets you as you step through the door of the ACFA gallery. But who is expected to jump through it? The artist, the visitor, or the filmed actors? This sculpture, one chalk on duraseal sign and three videos make up Holly Wilson’s exhibition.

The red sign says ‘Looking Forward’ and the videos ostensibly are about practising skills, looking forward to gaining strength or improved motor co-ordination. Or the young women dressed in black leotards doing these highly repetitive, monotonous exercises could be sending up Dan Graham or Bruce Nauman. Only the whole project seems totally serious.

The videos are of a ‘Simon says’ follow-the-teacher kind of lesson, aiming to tone up the arms and (I think) learn to swim; two women rolling in opposite directions on a rice mat and then returning to meet together in the middle; and someone learning ballet poses from a book lying on the floor.

Not overly exciting all this. Not memorable at all. You’d get more entertainment watching dead fish float in your granny’s goldfish tank than these videos. Whilst all the works in the room are tightly related they don’t add up to much. Not one of ACFA’s highlights.

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