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.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Art laboratory

Alexandra Savtchenko: Thought Forms
Tahi Moore: Into the blue M. Hulot’s Holiday
A Centre For Art, Room 5, Third Floor, Achilles House
18 June - 5 July 2008

This show of Savtchenko’s carries on themes explored by the work she has in ARTSPACE right now and what she recently exhibited at Newcall Gallery.

The Newcall Gallery work teased the memory of the viewer, their knowledge of art history and what the exhibited copied painting might be, and the ARTSPACE work is in two parts, widely separated across town but both seen in the venue –though not simultaneously.

In the Centre For Art space Savtchenko exploits your memory of the invitation, which has two photos of hands moulding red clay into balls. The actual exhibit is a bucket of water and two sealed plastic bags of bulk clay. Written on one of the bags is ‘Red Sculpture’. This is either an invitation for the visitor to make the work for themselves, or else about mental picturing. The latter in the Savtchenko’s context, is more likely. Like the incomplete Newcall building sign, she is asking you to imagine. She is examining the potential of the material, looking at latent transmutations of clay as substance.

Tucked into one corner of the space (it’s a tiny room) is a small screen showing a recent film by Tahi Moore. It is two films superimposed together, the movies being Into the Blue (2005), a John Stockwell thriller, and the Jacques Tati comedy classic, Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953). Moore has combined two separate genres made 55 years apart in two different countries.

When you watch (there is no sound) the narratives start to blend as you get confused about the people and elements in the parallel plots. Though one film is in black and white and the other in colour, when superimposed the Hollywood colour looks bleached, merging with the pallid greys of the older French film. The intermingling creates a new hybrid storyline as you start to manufacture new connections.

Because standing in front of Moore’s film for the whole screening is an ordeal for most, you can see some of it, go downstairs to the first floor and check out the Room 103 exhibitions, and then wander back to see some more if you wish. You can dip into the screening at any point anytime. The two films start together.

Auckland is very lucky to have such new experimental artist-run spaces like this Centre and Newcall Gallery, where projects can be tested. Exciting times.

No comments: