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July 12, 2010 | by  | in Visual Arts | [ssba]

Play On

Visual arts

This is an opportune time to visit the Adam if you haven’t already done so, as the gallery is showcasing Play On, a quirky collection of four major artworks created by New Zealand artists from the 1990s to the present. The exhibition is a who’s who of the New Zealand Postmodern era, including works by Michael Parekowhai, Julian Dashper, Michael Stevenson, Terry Urban and Ava Seymour, which investigate the relationship between sound and art.

Upon entering the gallery, one is hit with a wave of jumbled musical jingles streaming from Michael Stevenson’s robotic Slave Pianos (1998-99) and the repeating DVD showcasing the performance of Parekowhai’s Patriot: Ten Guitars (1999). At first, the compilation of artworks seems rather random. The fact that most of these works seem to be musical instruments placed in the context of the art gallery raises the legitimate question of whether these objects should actually be considered art. But that is exactly the type of question the radical young artists of the 1990s wanted explore. All the works in Play On use the medium of music to encourage the viewer to think about issues such as the definition of art and the role of the artist as a single creative individual.

Many people are intimidated by postmodern art and avoid it at all costs. Even I will admit that I was a bit bemused when confronted with drum kits, guitars and a self-playing piano. Yet postmodern art can be rewarding if the viewer is prepared to think outside the square, to scratch a little deeper than the surface. Don’t be intimidated by the fact that this is an exhibition showcasing Postmodern New Zealand art. Play On is a fantastic showcase of some of New Zealand’s most unique contemporary works, and Victoria students are fortunate to have such a collection on campus.

Play On
Adam Art Gallery
8 May – 25 July

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