This exhibition registers the world premiere of one of the most ambitious screen-based projects from Aotearoa New Zealand, from one of the country's most admired artists. In 1804, Joseph Dufour created Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, a sophisticated 20-panel scenic wallpaper whose exotic subject matter referenced popular illustrations of the times and mirrored a widespread fascination with Captain Cook and de la Perouse Pacific voyages. Two hundred years later Lisa Reihana reanimates this popular wallpaper as a panoramic video spanning a width of 26 metres.
While Dufour's work models Enlightenment beliefs of harmony amidst mankind, Reihana's version includes encounters between Polynesians and Europeans which acknowledge the nuances and complexities of cultural identities and colonisation. Stereotypes about other cultures and representation that developed during those times and since are challenged, and the gaze of imperialism is returned with a speculative twist that disrupts notions of beauty, authenticity, history and myth.
See a recent reproduction of part of the original Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique wallpaper in Printing the Pacific.
Articles, links, reviews and talks:
Lisa Reihana: Close encounters of the Pacific kind – New Zealand Herald
An interview with Lisa Reihana – Circuit
A conversation with Lisa Reihana – OCULA
Outlasting the Gee-Whizz Factor – Mark Amery, The Big Idea
Reihana's Infected Pursuit of Venus – John Hurrell, EyeContact
- Curated by
- Rhana Devenport
- Level 2
- Free entry