Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

LL

Martin Langdon and Jonathan Jones in Papakura

AA
View Discussion
Martin Langdon and Jonathan Jones' Shared Endeavour at Papakura Art Gallery. Image courtesy of Papakura Art Gallery Martin Langdon and Jonathan Jones' Shared Endeavour at Papakura Art Gallery. Image courtesy of Papakura Art Gallery. Martin Langdon and Jonathan Jones' Shared Endeavour at Papakura Art Gallery. Image courtesy of Papakura Art Gallery Martin Langdon and Jonathan Jones' Shared Endeavour at Papakura Art Gallery. Image courtesy of Papakura Art Gallery

The installation has an understated beauty. Piles of rock, well crafted heavy wood tables, and black coated biscuits. For Langdon and Jones, this effortless installation exemplifies how exhibitions come to life when making and exhibiting become a single thought process, contradicting the often too obvious role separation between artist and technician.

Papakura

 

Martin Langdon and Jonathan Jones
Shared Endeavour

 

14 March - 25 April 2015

Every now and again shows quietly appear. This year, masked by the excitement, fury and frustration that is the Auckland Arts Festival, Shared Endeavour by Martin Langdon (Tainui, Ngai Tahu) and Jonathan Jones (Wiradjuri, Kamilaroi) was one of these understated exhibitions. Slipping out from under those that are over publicised and over emphasized, taking cover at the Papakura Art Gallery.

The installation has an understated beauty. Piles of rock, well crafted heavy wood tables, and black coated biscuits. For Langdon and Jones, this effortless installation exemplifies how exhibitions come to life when making and exhibiting become a single thought process, contradicting the often too obvious role separation between artist and technician.

Papakura Griffins Biscuits’ (confusingly all the works are titled Shared Endeavour, 2015 so this seems like the most logical distinction) has a childhood charm. Dundee, Vanilla Wine, Krispie. These biscuits turned stars have a secure place in any New Zealand pantry. Even painted black, the size, shape and patterns are instantly recognisable. Clearly now inedible, the PVA sheen that comes with their new skin makes them even more attractive as sculptural objects.

Nailed directly into the wall, they greet you at eye level, eventually scattering into the ceiling, forcing you to look up. This very literal, man-made constellation - as metaphor - almost undermines the beauty in the object. I don’t know when it was decided, but beauty now no longer seems to be a sufficient measure for good art. Maybe the question really is: what is beauty?

In Shared Endeavour it is immediately apparent that the works have a deeply embedded meaning, one linked to indigeneity. Often exhibitions exploring indigeneity rely heavily on pre-existing visual languages, tropes and symbols. Here however, while these narratives are integral to both the large sculptural works, they stand alone as process based, crafted objects. A multiplicity proven hard to achieve.

The second gallery space looks like a cross between an education room, meeting area, kids’ art class and relational installation - with more, well crafted, furniture. As the exhibition title suggests, Shared Endeavour is on all levels a project of collaboration. So often we hear about artists whose works ‘sit well’ beside each other. In this case, all the art works were full collaborations between Langdon and Jones. The use of the back room as a learning space, ready for groups, meetings and bookings, furthers a partnership with the community itself.

Today we see growing support across social media from all New Zealanders - especially Māori - for SOS Blak Australia: a campaign which aims to ‘stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities’. This comes as State and Federal Governments look to withdraw their support and remove Aboriginal people from their traditional homelands in Western Australia. Shared Endeavour not only highlights a way of making for Langdon and Jones, but also echoes the wider banding together of Indigenous communities. Furthermore it references a deeply entrenched way of making, exhibiting and curating that Indigenous communities have been a part of for thousands of years, a forgotten art history.

Langdon and Jones are not only suggestive but deeply embedded in a shared exploration of Indigenous making. For me as an audience member, to have artists confidently articulating themselves, yet skilfully producing work with endless interpretive possibilities, is such a luxury. Its open-endedness is refreshing.

Lana Lopesi

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by Lana Lopesi

LL
Jeremy Leatinu'u, Queen Victoria, 2013

When Discourse is Only about Discourse

St PAUL STREET , GALLERY ONE

Auckland

 

Group exhibition
Since 1984: He aha te ahurea-rua?

 

17 April - 22 May 2015

LL
Covers of Tonga 'I Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary and Tauhi Vā

Two Tongan Contemporary Art Publications

Tonga ‘I Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary
Published by Pataka in April 2014 for the same exhibition. 

Tauhi Vā

Published by Fresh Gallery, Otara, in August 2014, for the same exhibition.

LL
The Suburban Floral Association and Janet Lilo exhibition The Floral Show Local Exotic (curated by Ariane Craig-Smith) at Fresh, Otara. Image courtesy of Fresh

Fresh’s Local Exotic

FRESH GALLERY OTARA

Otara

 

The Suburban Floral Association with Janet Lilo
The Floral Show Local Exotic


6 June - 16 July 2014

LL

Tongan Tooth Adornment

GUS FISHER GALLERY

Auckland

 

Ane Tonga
Grills

 

30 May - 28 June, 2014