Yesterday Beth and I went on an excursion that involved a day of art, to replenish the mind and spirit, and frequent stops for delicious food and coffee, to replenish the body and lift the energy levels! We visited a variety of galleries in the central city that are participating in the 4th Auckland Triennial - Last Ride in a Hot Air Balloon. Curator Natasha Conland writes that "adventure and it's incumbent risk has been central to modernity's geographic and economic expansion. But are also vital to it's exploration of the mind, the body and society at large." Artists from all over the world were invited to respond to the theme and to interpret it's meaning through their chosen art forms. Installations include 3 D, sculpture, film, 2D and performance art.
We started at Art space on K Rd, then headed on to Shed 6 in Wellesley St, then the George Fraser Gallery in Princes St, the St Pauls St Gallery at AUT and finally the Auckland Art Gallery. I loved the variety of the artists responses and the way it really makes you think about your own response as the viewer.
Some highlights were....
Mike Parr's Facts About the Room (1970). Just a whole lot of one sentence descriptions about the physical aspects of the room stencilled on the wall but managing to engage the viewer and stimulate thought, laughter, irony, a sense of peace, unease....
The Room with a Bird (2010) by Bundith Phunsombatlert evokes a similar feeling to Alfred Hitchcock's movie The Birds (but without the birds!) Empty bird perches hang down a narrow hallway and as you pass through they move and make noises of the bird flying away. "The known has become unknowable."
Jorge Macchi's 12 Short Songs (2009) manages to contrast the doom and gloom of the current global financial crisis by displaying text on cheerful looking banners that are then played on music boxes that make them sound lighthearted and delightful.
The Last Tour (2004) by Marine Hugonnier is a beautiful film of the Materhorn where the juxtiposition of images and ideas challenges the way that we perceive our world. As you observe what is before you "you cannot help but map postcard images of what you want to remember." I love the way that art can challenge the way we perceive things and how we embrace our world. It's a reminder that we need to see more, to look deeper, to not be trapped into taking snapshot images instead of fully participating in the whole of life and all that it has to offer.
Pitstop and lunch at Deus Ex Machina in Wellesley St, heaven for bike and motorbike enthusiasts. Check it out.... It's a fantastic blend of shop, merchandise, workshop and cafe. Beth and I came away loving the food, the best bathroom ever and pining over BMX bikes!
We also visited Jason's Books with it's amazing selection of secondhand books. It's a quiet haven in the centre of the city. Here's some of the shipping ephemera Beth purchased. They provide a fascinating window into another era where travelling on a ship was the height of romance and adventure!