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

JH

Hydroponic Invasion

AA
View Discussion
Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett. Jae Kang, Gurmon Sup, at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett.

This is not the sort of exhibition that needs to be carefully explained, because it either hits you on an emotional visceral level or else leaves you cold and baffled. Yet it is hard to imagine anybody genuinely flummoxed, especially when they are standing in an art gallery where such experiences are common - but perhaps they'd insist on a metaphorical layering, a detailed account of precise symbolism that is not forthcoming: a closed and final exegesis that they want neatly packaged.

Titirangi

 

Jae Kang
Gurmon Sup

 

18 June - 7 September 2016

In this startlingly dramatic installation by the Korean artist Jae Kang (resident in Auckland and a keen cultivator of tomatoes) the Te Uru building is mysteriously invaded by root-like polyethylene irrigation equipment - evocative concertina tubes, serpentine hoses and drip lines - hairy black clusters that emerge from the top floor ceiling in two locations to descend down through a gallery, winding corridor and the elliptical space enclosed by the angular, doglegging internal staircase. The intertwined cascading black lines finish up on the ground floor of the entrance and shop.

Surreal, sinister and (for most) amusing, Kang’s sprawling project is highly sensual and rich in associations. Gurmon Sup (black forest) also has thematic similarities to the well known Alvin Pankhurst painting, Maybe Tomorrow, owned by Dunedin Art Gallery, and winner of the 1973 Benson and Hedges Art Award, with its Triffid-like growths advancing through a lavishly wallpapered sittingroom and central fireplace. The suggestion of something living within the gallery walls is also linked to the sculptures of the Brazillian artist, Adriana Varejāo, where green-tiled partitions seem filled with meat and viscera.

Kang’s version though, avoids any suggestion of being a Duchampian readymade (if you thought that) by its irrigation accessories clearly not being brand new. Dirt is conspicuous in its grooves as an indicator of recycling; traces of smeared mud are crucial as signs of an eco-friendly, non-wastage sensibility.

Like an earlier inflatable Seung Yul Oh installation, Gurmon Sup has a wonderful way of exploiting the spiralling centripetal characteristics of the Te Uru architecture, especially when thought about in vertical cross-section. The Seung Yul Oh show had a strong maternal presence, like a massive, soft, yolk-coloured breast, but this show is dark, fragmented and penetrating. This can be seen as pertaining to hairy roots, grasping octopi, and perhaps nasty scampering millipedes. And although the photographs above feature the main room at the top (with its clusters, stacks and droopy protuberances) the most interesting aspects of the exhibition are around the yellow stairway: when you are looking down or up. The show really seems to have invaded the building’s core.

This is not the sort of exhibition that needs to be carefully explained, because it either hits you on an emotional visceral level or else leaves you cold and baffled. Yet it is hard to imagine anybody genuinely flummoxed, especially when they are standing in an art gallery where such experiences are common - but perhaps they’d insist on a metaphorical layering, a detailed account of precise symbolism that is not forthcoming: a closed and final exegesis that they want neatly packaged.

A walk-through immersive drawing on four floors, it displays graphic and sculptural sensibilities combined.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

This Discussion has 1 comment.

Comment

Rob Hanks, 8:43 a.m. 1 September, 2016

Well said... I wish you'd written the editorial on this installation for the 2016 Spring issue of Artnews NewZealand magazine.

Reply to this thread

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
From Scratch: 546 Moons, as installed in Gallery One at Te Uru. Photo: Sam Hartnett

From Scratch Survey

TE URU

Titirangi

 

From Scratch
546 Moons


3 March - 27 May 2018.

JH
Alfredo Jaar, Other People Think, 2012, light box with black and white transparency. Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 2016

Reason and Sentience in Others

AUCKLAND ART GALLERY TOI O TAMAKI

Auckland

 

International contemporary collection sampler
Other People Think


10 March -10 June 2018

JH
Imogen Taylor, Imposter Syndrome, 2017, acrylic on canvas; Isobel Thom, Stacking Storage Boxes, Teapot, Cup and Trivet, Bottle Bell, Geodesic Cup and Salt Pigs. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Taylor, Cochran and Thom

TE URU

Titirangi

 

Imogen Taylor (with Vita Cochran and Isobel Thom)
Pocket Histories,

 

10 February —13 May 2018

JH
Natasha Matila-Smith (all 2018, poly-velvet blend, spray paint):  The Scent of You Stays With Me; His Lips Pink and Swollen; Spaghetti, Alone.

Bad Education

ST PAUL St Gallery

Auckland

 

Louisa Afoa, Natasha Matila-Smith, Molly Rangiwai-McHale, Faith Wilson
Between You and Me

 

19 April - 1 June 2018