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P1: FIONA CONNORjj

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Community Notice Board (Silver Lake) 2015
custom freestanding bulletin board, paint, silkscreen and UV print on aluminium plates, pins, staples, tape, and concrete
2500 x 1700 x 300mm
courtesy of Hopkinson Mossman (Booth C3) and the artist

As with much of Fiona Connor’s work, Community Notice Board (Silver Lake) (2015) looks at first like a found object that has been transplanted to the exhibition space. In reality, however, it is a meticulous facsimile. The piece is one of a series of reproductions of notice boards from locations visited by the artist, including Switzerland, New York, and parts of California (where the New Zealand-born Connor now resides). While it includes elements of particularity, and thus may be understood to express the distinct identity of the Los Angeles neighbourhood of Silver Lake, the work also hints at the sometimes humdrum threads of commonality that connect different people and places.

Image: Fiona Connor, Community Notice Board (Riverside), 2015. Courtesy of the Chartwell Collection, Hopkinson Mossman, and the artist.


P2: BRONWYN HOLLOWAY-SMITHjj

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It behooves wired people to know a few things about wires 2016
poster, Hollywood vanity lighting
470 x 710 x 100mm
courtesy of the artist

Once upon a time, our nation found pride in its connectivity. New submarine communications cables were commemorated with postage stamps and public artwork. But over time knowledge of this has waned. And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.

With The Southern Cross Cable: A Tour, Bronwyn Holloway-Smith uncovers places where you can picnic and build sand castles, mere metres from the Cable, where 98% of New Zealand’s international internet traffic glows, on the iconic Muriwai and Takapuna beaches.

Turn off your screens. This is not a film.

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Fibre Tours logo. Courtesy of the artist.


P3: GRANT STEVENSjj

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Sky 2016
HD video with 5.1 surround sound
courtesy of Starkwhite (Booth C9) and the artist

Australian artist Grant Stevens has become known for making immersive video works, which combine restrained visuals with haunting music. Sky lifts the viewer up among the clouds, evoking the liberation of international air travel, as well as the fantasy of flight unencumbered by the armour of the plane.

The piece also brings to mind cloud storage, especially when considered in the context of the artist’s earlier videos based on texts from the internet. As with much of Stevens’s recent work, Sky may be understood to invite reflection on dream worlds—not only those that exist privately, inside our heads, but also those that we create for ourselves online.

Image: Grant Stevens, Sky, 2016. Courtesy of Starkwhite and the artist.


P4: QUISHILE CHARANjj

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Fijianx 2016
plywood, turmeric, coconuts
courtesy of the artist

Quishile Charan is a young Indo-Fijian artist based in Auckland. Fijianx is part of an ongoing series of the same name. The ‘x’ in the title refers to the algebraic symbol for an unknown value, inviting reflection on the ‘value’ of being Fijian, while questioning whether identity is fully knowable or definable.

The haldi (turmeric) that covers the plinths answers instances of whitewashing in the history and present of Viti (Fiji), and activates a process of cleansing and healing. The number of plinths relates to the seven stages of migration undertaken by the artist’s ancestors to reach the Pacific Islands and the land of Viti. Charan notes, “Each plinth stands as a part of the journey and an offering, a way of reclaiming the journey—one that is not talked about and cannot be forgotten.”

An accompanying publication, also called Fijianx, is available online.

Image: Quishile Charan, Fijianx, 2015. Photograph by Tom Teutenberg, courtesy of PAULNACHE and the artist.


P5: WAYNE YOULEjj

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Welcome, we have the Wi-Fi 2016
mixed media
courtesy of {Suite} (Booth B12) and the artist

Despite its overtly playful qualities, Wayne Youle’s work is underpinned by seriousness. His Welcome, we have the Wi-Fi investigates notions of ‘island time’ and of the Pacific as paradise, while discussing the emigration of people from smaller islands to the wealthier and more ‘teched up’ shores of Aotearoa.

A Pasifika-style welcome sign displays a live feed from a tropical location, inviting reflection on our perceptions of the Islands. A European bird bath plays host to seven dipping birds—one for each of the Pacific ‘ethnic’ groups associated with/identified in New Zealand: Samoan, Cook Islander, Tongan, Niuean, Fijian, Tokelauan, and the ever-present ‘other’.

A pair of sandcastles—one in the form of a state house, one of the conventional, bucket-made sort—raise questions about the position of Pasifika people in Aotearoa, and hint at potential crises on the horizon. The artist notes, “Not intended to have a long lifespan, the sandcastle is an object that always succumbs to self-destruction, human intervention, or environmental elements.”

Image: Wayne Youle. Courtesy of {Suite} and the artist.


P6: RICHARD LEWERjj

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Untitled 2016
acrylic on sandpaper
280mm x 230mm (each)
courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery (Booth B14) and the artist

Born in Aotearoa, Richard Lewer currently lives in Melbourne. His work is politically and culturally engaged, and imbued with a wry sense of humour. Crudely painted on sandpaper, the works included in Pacific Real Time explore contemporary life and its everydayness, frequently employing text.

The artist jibes at the art world, suggesting, “Don’t be an artist”; at our antipodean environment, warning, “Keep out of the sun”; and at ‘clean eating’ obsessions, with phrases like “Superfoods” and “Organic chicken”. Other pieces are more sombre, musing, “There is always someone worse off” and “I thought God was meant to be on my side”. Together, the works are an outpouring, a stream of consciousness from a social realist keen to comment on matters we might prefer to ignore.

Lewer’s work often refers to or recalls the art of other New Zealanders. In their heavy use of text and bold, simplified imagery, these pieces may be understood to echo paintings by Colin McCahon, John Reynolds, and Peter Robinson.

Image: Richard Lewer, Untitled, 2016. Courtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery and the artist.


P7: TERROR INTERNATIONALEjj

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courtesy of Terror Internationale and the artists

Terror Internationale (formerly Terror Management) is a group of young, Auckland-based artists who firmly believe in connecting with the wider art world, by bringing international work to Aotearoa and by disseminating their own stuff via the internet. As a case in point, Terror Internationale recently organised the first exhibition in Aotearoa of work from/by Bernadette Corporation and Antek Walczak.

When invited to submit a proposal for Pacific Real Time, the group responded with a question: could they have a booth, alongside the commercial galleries participating in the Fair? Finding that no booth was available, they decided to create their own, filling it with a range of new and recent works.

Terror Internationale’s aim is to interfere with the boundary between the market value and symbolic value of art. Of course, art fairs already do this. They’re as much trade shows as they are exhibitions. But/so they generally skip over emerging artists with little cash behind them …

Enter Terror Internationale.

Image: Bernadette Corporation and Antek Walczak (installation view), Halloween Gallery, 2016. Courtesy of Terror Internationale and the artists.


P8: KATHY TEMINjj

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From The Monument Project: Black Wall 2015
synthetic fur and filling, steel and wood
1000 x 5000 x 3000mm
courtesy of Hamish McKay (Booth A1) and the artist

Much of the Kathy Temin’s recent work has related to her family’s experiences of the Holocaust—her father having been interned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany. The Memorial Project: Black Wall was made in Auckland last year, while the Sydney-born Temin was Artist in Residence at the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts. It serves to acknowledge the lives of Jewish people who sought safe haven in New Zealand during the Second World War.

The portion of Black Wall included in Pacific Real Time is both barrier and refuge, its black colouring as threatening as its tactility is comforting. In the work, Temin, who has often fashioned soft-furnished crawlspaces, suggests that the Pacific is a mixed blessing for European émigrés. In coming here they are surely alive, though—like the artist—they are destined to perpetually cast their minds back to where they came from, forever displaced.

Image: Kathy Temin, The Memorial: Project Black Wall (installation view), Gus Fisher Gallery, 2015. Photograph by Sam Hartnett, courtesy of Gus Fisher Gallery, Hamish McKay, and the artist.


P9: MIKE HEYNESjj

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News of the Uruguay Round 2016
seven-channel video
courtesy of CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand and the artist

News of the Uruguay Round shows a series of international production company logos recreated using a range of technologies, including simple robotics and green screen. The work looks back to the signing of the World Trade Organisation-administered Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by the New Zealand Government in Uruguay in 1994.

TRIPS opened the door to the making of international television programmes, such as Hercules and Xena, in Aotearoa, and paved the way for big-budget films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While the agreement added cash, jobs, and vitality to the New Zealand entertainment economy, Heynes believes that investment in telling our own stories remained, and remains, stagnant. News of the Uruguay Round thus functions both as a celebration of Aotearoa’s role in the production of international television and film, and as a critique of the poverty of local programming on our screens.

Presentation of this work has been made possible by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, which has provided screens and media players.

Image: Mike Heynes, News of the Uruguay Round (installation view), Enjoy Public Art Gallery, 2016. Photograph by the artist, courtesy of Enjoy and CIRCUIT.


P10: CERITH WYN EVANSjj

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In praise of Shadows … 2014
neon
290 x 1970mm
courtesy of Michael Lett (Booth B6), Hopkinson Mossman (Booth C3), White Cube, and the artist

In praise of Shadows …, by Welsh artist Cerith Wyn Evans, allows for a wide range of interpretations. On a basic level, it may be understood to pay tribute to the conditions of darkness necessary for the artist’s light works to be appreciated. The title of the piece echoes that of a well-known essay on traditional Japanese aesthetics by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. In it, the writer contrasts the West and East, suggesting that the former is concerned with light, and with attendant notions of clarity and regularity, while the latter is more interested in shadows—in subtlety and imperfection. In praise of Shadows … might also remind viewers of the importance of retreat from the hubbub of life in the 21st century.

Image: Cerith Wyn Evans, In praise of Shadows … (installation view), Michael Lett, 2014. Courtesy of Michael Lett, Hopkinson Mossman, White Cube, and the artist.