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July 30, 2018 | by  | in Visual Arts | [ssba]

Free Time

Here are some exhibitions and events that I have not seen yet, but that are exciting and intriguing. Use a moment before deadlines to catch a couple of these, and I will follow my own advice and do the same.
Pleasure and vexation— the strata and spectacle of history at Pātaka, until 19 August
Danie Mellor
Danie Mellor’s use of mixed media creates images that resemble something suspended between cyanotype and willow patterning. This exhibition explores the consequences of colonisation on indigenous people in Australia, and stresses the need for continuing dialogue around the troubled coexistence of indigenous and non-indigenous people. These are critical conversations to be having, a reminder that indigenous people are still living with the effects of colonial rule.
Window Dressing at Bartley + Company, until 11 August
Lonnie Hutchinson
You’ve probably seen Lonnie Hutchinson’s work before, those dispersed cut-out-like shapes in the very silent reading room in the library. In this exhibition, she uses the idea of window and curtains to think about what is seen and unseen. Her method is like creating strings of paper dolls, inseparable from each other, but employs Polynesian motifs and mythology to think about what it means to be Polynesian, a woman, and deeply connected to genealogy, place, and history.

Le Sceau de Salomon at The Engine Room, until 3 August
Chloé Quenum
This exhibition is about dual meanings to things. The French title refers to the legend of the Seal of King Solomon, a signet ring that allowed him to control demons — it also refers to the name of a forest flower. These kind of slippages between reality and interpretation, especially when travelling across geographies, are navigated through mixed media and video works. Drawing from the artist’s experiences in Aotearoa, Benin, and Paris, she contemplates the possibility of everything being connected to something else.
Death and Desire— Hair in the Turnbull Collections at National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga, until 7 September
I have always been repulsed by those Victorian mourning bracelets with tiny photographic portraits woven into a wristband of hair, but equally fascinated. Katherine Mansfield’s ponytail is included in this collection, and in many ways, to collect and label hair because of who it was once attached to seems like an act of intense fandom. There is something cult-like about it, placing value on every aspect of someone, rather than just celebrating their work alone. I love this balancing act between beauty and morbidity.

Mata Aho Collective talk at The Dowse, 4 August at 4pm, free entry but booking required
Mata Aho Collective are discussing their work commissioned for The Dowse’s new exhibition Can Tame Anything, on its opening day. The exhibition will look at how 1980s critical theory and installation practices are still influential today. Mata Aho work on a large-scale, and often with unconventional material.
The close-up thumbnail image for their talk looks like some sort of nylon cord, so I am excited about the  new work, and to hear them discuss it.


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