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.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Unusual but pleasurable film

Nova Paul
Pink and White Terraces
Gow Langsford
20 - 29 February 2008

This ten minute film of Nova Paul’s was one of the highlights of last year’s Telecom Prospect at City Gallery, so it is fabulous Gow Langsford are now screening (and selling) it in Auckland. It is a gorgeous wee movie, a true gem that keeps on intriguing with each new viewing.

Its attraction lies in the way Paul has treated her home movies of domestic life with family and friends, and scenes around Auckland. She has colour separated the images and joined up the different films.

Usually in each portion she has a double exposure effect with two overlaid images – but not always. However with each image, she separates it into three colours - those of the optical primaries that effect light – pink, blue and green. These are usually out of register with sometimes a time delay.

Each section of film, of which there is a lot of variation, has its own mix of dissonant colour and ghost-like repeated action. Whilst there is much human activity (traffic in city streets, people crossing intersections, demonstrators with placards outside shops) my favourite shots are of natural elements, like the wind blowing washing on a clothesline, or rustling leaves on a branch, or falling water splashing in a creek. All these scenes are accompanied by a wonderful Enoesque soundtrack from Rachel Shearer that creates a sensual, aurally caressing mood.

Also for some odd reason, Paul’s contemporary images look strangely historical - because the movement sometimes seems speeded up, like in early film. You pinch yourself that these images are not actually old. That is part of Pink and White Terraces’ appeal.

The film is screened in the small Gow Langsford side gallery when visitors arrive. In the large main gallery are fifteen stills, lithographic prints under glass. These beautiful images assist your thinking about what you have been seeing in the movie, but of course they lack movement and Shearer’s delicious accompaniment, and are smaller. They provide a different sort of experience. I like them, but I’m nuts about the film. The kinetic aspects mesmerise me. I can’t get enough.

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