The Network: Contemporary Art from New Zealand
In collaboration with Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand
Curated by Sanjay Theodore
The Network: Contemporary Art from New Zealand is the first leg of a reciprocal project that culminates in an exhibition of Indian Art at Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand in February 2015.
India and New Zealand both share a British colonial history. But that frame is gone, shredded by new narratives and a cross-pollination of ideas in art that now feels natural, vital and engaged. The Network formalises the similarities of Art makers and Gallerists in an otherwise pluralist world.
Some of the New Zealand artists here explore notions of identity, referencing the past in search of a vibrant present. The starting point for Rob Hood’s photocollages for example, are old souvenir postcards of picturesque New Zealand landscapes. (The real question however, is why the peanut?) Michael Parekowhai offers polish and virtue as a dapper civil servant with briefcase and coat, whilst also doffing his hat to Rene Magritte. Nathan Pohio uses lenticular prints of old ships to suggest a restless and shifting present. And Fiona Pardington acknowledges her Ngai Tahu whakapapa (or South Island Maori origins) in photographing a mysterious but beautiful carved bone taonga (or treasure), and titling it “Taniwha” – a Maori spirit creature of romance and myth. Some work in The Network bravely ticks the “other, please specify” box – that of Sanjay Theodore and Yuk King Tan for example. Theirs is work that more closely reflects the crushing, vibrant ideas machine that is Mumbai, that is life today – or as Theodore puts it, “a place where there is no time for hucksterism.” We hope there is a resonance in the ideas of the New Zealand artists which Mumbai might connect to.