Carol on the right and another person enjoying the sensation.
David disappearing into wonderland.
The artist is Shindi Ohmaki from Japan. He transforms space, where boundaries between interiors and exteriors are blurred. Liminal Air – descend – 2007–09 combines over 100 000 strands of knotted thread with the effects of artificial light, and the Gallery’s architectural right-angles provide a counterpoint to Ohmaki’s contrasting approach to minimalism. Using simple fibres in which countless knots have been tied, the immersive installation proposes both a surface (masses of threads give the appearance of vaporous waves) and an interior dimension (within the permeable structure of soft fibres), at once inviting a sense of gravity and weightlessness. The sheer labour involved in producing the accumulations of delicate strands and knots is understated in the overall work, which seems to evoke ideas of infinity and reverie, transforming the gallery into a contemplative space.
Then we moved onto People holding flowers by Zhu Weibing & Ji Wenyu.
Comprising 400 individual figures, each holding a large pink flower, People holding flowers contains potent symbolism for Chinese culture: the flowers recall Mao Zedong’s encouragement of intellectuals to debate a range of policy solutions and criticise bureaucracy, stating that he meant to ‘let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend’. However, by the middle of 1957, an overwhelming response to Mao’s Hundred Flowers Campaign led to serious crackdowns on dissent.
With the soft, fleshy flowers raised high, this installation appears attractive and harmless. But while the work’s mood is buoyant and celebratory, the repetition of forms and lack of differentiation between individuals question the homogenising effects of mass ideology, be it communism or capitalism.
Gupta reflects on the cultural, social and political impact of economic and technological change on the Indian subcontinent. Gupta’s art has its genesis in the local traditions and materials of his home state of Bihar in India, yet these often anecdotal works also speak profoundly to audiences in other countries about issues of global significance.
The one below is a static display of a mirror mosaic called Lightning for Neda by Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian. The 4000 pieces of mirror used were very, very small. (Wish I had taken a close focus shot) It must have taken a long time to make. Carol is enjoying the art.
The mirror mosaic draws on an Iranian decorative form known as aineh-kari. This technique dates back to the sixteenth century, when pieces of mirror, broken in transit from Europe to Persia, were recycled to create decorative architectural panels. Lightning for Neda skilfully uses this technique: over 4000 mirror shards per panel activate myriad patterns within its glittering, sublime surface. The six sides of the hexagon, which provide the underlying structure, are expanded and elaborately rendered. The hexagon is an important shape within Islamic geometry, and also has mystical connotations, representing the six directions (up, down, forward, backward, left, right) as well as the six virtues of generosity, self-discipline, patience, determination, insight and compassion. Farmanfarmaian symbolically activates these virtues in this work, the title of which pays homage to Neda Agha Soltan, a 27-year-old Iranian woman killed in the streets of Tehran during protests that followed the 12 June 2009 presidential elections. Neda means ‘voice’ in Farsi, and here, the compelling voice of a senior Iranian contemporary artist acknowledges the turmoil that exists in her country.
This last one is one big momma of a picture.
Reuben Paterson’s Whakapapa: get down upon your knees extends the customary New Zealand Māori use of design, pattern, weaving and layering by using seductive new materials. Drawing on his own Māori culture and floral fabrics from the 1960s and 1970s, his judicious use of colour, patterning and composition recalls American Modernism and Op art.
Well what do you think? Do you love it or hate it?