Artspace

Curiosity Kills the Gap

Curiosity kills the gap

Mark Adams, Denis Beaubois, Sharon Goodwin, Tim Johnson, The Kingpins, Gottfried Lindauer, Daniel Malone, Catherine Maughan, Tom Nicholson, Josh On & Futurefarmers, Raquel Ormella, Michael Parekowhai, Nathan Pohio, Vivienne Shark LeWitt, Francis Upritchard and <re:Play> a presentation of critical games curated by r a d i o q u a l i a, Max Barry, Natalie Bookchinm, escapefromwoomera collective, Andy Deck, Mongrel and Josh On + Futurefarmers

21 November – 20 December 2003

Curated by Tobias Berger

 

Why do we love gossip, peek in the neighbor's windows and visit the most exotic places possible, what is so interesting about the other?

If all this is so interesting, why are we so afraid of the other? Why is the stranger the enemy, the arriver the intruder? How many movies are there, besides ET, who actually has a friendly alien? How can politicians win elections in democratic countries by making asylum seekers into welfare eating monsters?

New Zealand, especially Auckland is a multi cultural society. Based on the idea of a bi-cultural state the acceptance of other cultures and identities is more developed than in most other societies in the world. In the neighboring country Australia Aboriginal culture is a vital part of Australia's cultural identity. It is represented widely in museums and no ceremony is complete without an aboriginal performance. If this is so why then are there few artists who look outside their own culture for their subject matter.

Curiosity Kills the Gap exhibits Australian and New Zealand artists that are interested in peoples, cultures and politics that are not directly their own. Artists that are curious to work with and about difference in a positive way, wanting to bridge the gap between differences not to display or use the difference but to articulate more general matters. This can range from just portraying the other, to working in co-operations or evolving into political actions.

An early example of this is the 1876 Austrian immigrant to New Zealand Gottfried Lindauer who started to produce Maori portraits. He was one of the first artists that painted a series of portraits of the ancestors. Almost 100 years later Tim Johnson went out to the Australian desert to work together with Aboriginal artists. At the around the same time Mark Adams started documenting Samoan Tattoos in New Zealand and Europe.

Today Josh On & Futurefarmers's website They Rule describes the power structures of American businesses. Denis Beaubois's game with surveillance cameras highlights our watching society through an attempt to actively get into a dialogue with a surveillance camera and the people operating them. The Kingpins are four Sydney women that dress in men's clothes to perform typical male macho stereotypes. Francis Upritchard uses western sporting clubs to make tribal looking cult instruments out of them. All these works could be branded under the text of one of Raquel Ormella banners: I'm worried I'm not political enough.