W e l c o m e

Thu Sep 04 2014

Group exhibition at Artspace Aotearoa, curated by Ahilapalapa Rands

Hey Kevie, 

I’ve been told that if you’re having a hard time writing, then you should write to someone you love – and, well, I love you very much. A palm-reader in Pittsburgh once told me you were my soul mate and that neither of us could exist without the other. I think I already knew that. Anyway, a kindly greeting to you! And thank you for making it this far; I know we are all very busy. 

 So I’m curating a show in September at Artspace. It’s a tricky thing to describe because I don’t want to explain everything and leave no room for the sparks of new connections or new understandings. Every human enjoys that process (unless it is thoroughly beaten out of us); we are naturally curious and like to learn. Telling all would also suggest a hierarchy of understanding, as though my thoughts on what it is about were more important than yours! That’s not at all true. I guess I have spent longer thinking about the work – and there are my intentions to consider – but it doesn’t follow that I am right or that I have a complete view of what is happening. How dull. This is the beginning of something but it isn’t anything until you come along and have a look and think about it. I ask you to trust me; I promise there is no ‘in-joke’. 

There are six projects taking place in this show and for me there are many links between them.  I am using a strategy called the ‘triangulation of meaning’ to frame some conversations around the artists and their work. This involves taking three (or more) disparate ideas, or positions and placing them at the points of a triangle in which you can then talk. Ideas can co-exist and bump into one another in this space.

I have been thinking about the power of storytelling, about stories so big and old that they become invisible – they become the natural order of things – and we are no longer aware of how they are constructed. What happens when you hack them? Creating a glitch in the dominant way of viewing the world – this is not a new strategy at all but I think it is an important one. Hacking, as Catherine Bracey puts it, is “an amateur innovation on an existing system, it is a deeply democratic activity. It’s about critical thinking, it’s about questioning existing ways of doing things”. Access is gained to spaces that are usually protected by codes and protocols. I think ‘hacking’ is a great word to use in the context of the arts. It is a very ACTIVE word.  

I’m drawn to practices that occur inside and outside the gallery – making the institutional space porous, nimble and responsive. I think expanded, blurred outcomes have a place in the contemporary art world and the world in general. I am not precious about keeping things ‘business as usual’. As our mum says, ‘business as usual’ may be largely at fault for the many problems the world faces today.

I know you are busy, you are tired – why should you care?  You don’t have to, but I welcome you and I hope you will join me and the others. Let’s make some triangles.

Also, regarding the matching, pink velour tracksuits, let’s go with customised rhinestones. He only turns 60 once.

 – Ahi   

W e l c o m e
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