From where I stand, my eye will send a light to you in the North

Dates & Venue:
12 August 2018 – 11 November 2018
Te Tuhi, Aotearoa New Zealand

Artists: John Akomfrah (Ghana/UK) // Fernando Arias (Colombia) // Regina José Galindo (Guatemala)
Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola) // Runo Lagomarsino (Sweden/Brazil) // Sarah Munro (Aotearoa, NZ)
Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria/Belgium) // Siliga David Setoga (Aotearoa, NZ)
Jasmine Togo-Brisby (Australia/Aotearoa, NZ) // Jian Jun Xi (China)
Curator: Gabriela Salgado
Exhibition Designer: Andrew Kennedy

This exhibition took its title from artist Otobong Nkanga’s performance piece ‘Diaoptasia‘, presented at Tate Modern, London, in 2015. Instead of departing from a theme, the exhibition’s foundations were laid from a selection of works on paper by Nkanga, which provided ground for other artists’ works to address the need to challenge Eurocentric historical narratives.

Otobong Nkanga
Social Consequences II: Choices we make, 2009
Social Consequences II: Constructivism, 2009
Lithographic prints
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Otobong Nkanga
Social Consequences II: The Overload – Projectiles – Piercing Pressure – Hostage – Wastescape – The overflow, 2009
Lithographic prints
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Nkanga’s prints from the series ‘Social Consequences’ engage with a number of issues through graphically sparse depictions of human bodies and natural resources caught in dystopian entanglements. Her work originates in the observation of stone and minerals to shed light on the contradictions of wealth-producing economies and their restrictive access to gains. Drawing eloquent parallels between minerals and language, Nkanga’s works depict humans that appear to be connected by tools through processes of fracturing, cutting and carving out, evoking language’s constant metamorphosis. Moreover, her analysis of minerals as a metonymy for society shows us that we are made of a great variety of elements that react to pressure, heat and other physical forces.

The artists included in the show were Fernando Arias (CO), Jasmine Togo-Brisby (AU/Aotearoa NZ), Jian Jun Xi (CN), John Akomfrah (GH/GB), Kiluanji Kia Henda (AO), Otobong Nkanga (NG/BE), Regina José Galindo (GT), Runo Lagomarsino (SE/BR), Sarah Munro (Aotearoa NZ), Siliga David Setoga (Aotearoa NZ). The thematic considerations by the artists highlighted the manifestation of contemporary challenges and sufferings as seen from the geographical South, while contemplating the historical roots of these difficulties. These contemplations include the sociopolitical residue of colonialism and how the emergence of imperial capitalism led to the extractive relationship with the planet and people that persists today. These works emphasise how this history has resulted in cyclical and accelerating economic, ecological and human crises.

This exhibition further considers the impact of this history and the wounds it perpetually inflicts by pointing to the partial reading of human histories that empowers dominant narratives to build a “canonical version of reality”. In these constructions the idea of a binary existence is particularly poignant, strategically separating an idea of civilised and primitive; conquerors and oppressed; educated and unqualified; masters and slaves; powerful and disenfranchised; explorers and providers; high and low art.

This exhibition brought together artists from across the globe, intertwining knowledge systems and historical perspectives in this confrontation with these Eurocentric frameworks.

Siliga David Setoga
This Land of Plenty, 2018 (installation view)
3 light boxes
Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland
Photo by Sam Hartnett

John Akomfrah
Tropikos, 2016 (installation view)
Single channel colour video, 5.1 sound
36 mins 41 secs
Smoking Dogs Films; courtesy Lisson Gallery
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Runo Lagomarsino
If You Don’t Know What the South Is, It’s Simply Because you are From the North (poster version), 2009 (installation view)
stack of posters
Courtesy the artist, Francisca Minini, Milano, Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo and Nils Staerk, Copenhagen
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Siliga David Setoga
This Land of Plenty, 2018 (installation view)
3 light boxes
Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Jasmine Togo-Brisby
Kanaka converts: full immersion, 2017
Collodion on glass
Courtesy of the artist and Page Blackie Gallery
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Otobong Nkanga
Social Consequences II, 2009 (installation view)
Lithographic prints
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Jasmine Togo-Brisby
Sweet Jesus!, 2018 (installation view)
unrefined cane sugar & resin
Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland
Courtesy of the artist and Page Blackie Gallery
Photo by Sam Harnett

Sarah Munro
Trade Item, 2014-2018 (installation view)
unbleached calico, cloth, thread
30 x 30 cm each
Courtesy of the artist
Private collection, on behalf of Page Blackie Gallery
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Jian Jun Xi
Empire, 2018 (detail)
red, blue and white tarpaulin, steel
commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland
photo by Sam Hartnett

Jian Jun Xi
Empire, 2018 (installation view)
red, blue and white tarpaulin, steel
commissioned by Te Tuhi, Auckland
photo by Sam Hartnett

Kiluanji Kia Henda
Redefining the Power III (Homem Novo/New Man series with Miguel Prince), 2011 (installation view)
triptych photography printed on fine art paper
Courtesy of the artist
Photo by Sam Hartnett

Mus re officillupta non preri ut oditibere, quaecab orerum remod ut essequis antia
quaeperumqui officiet earum res

RESOURCES

Images courtesy of Te Tuhi, with special thanks to Hiraani Himona (Executive Director)

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