The Body of the Work / It does no harm to wonder at Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History
Who am I? Well, sometimes I am an artist, occasionally a writer and once or twice a curator. But I definitely work at the Massey University Whiti-o-Rehua School of Artin Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. I studied at the University of Canterbury School of Art, the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and have a Masters of Fine Art from RMIT University, Melbourne. From the-mid 1980s I have exhibited sculpture and sculptural installation consistently in New Zealand and internationally, with a recent focus on the Americas.
This interest began in 2011 when I curated “El Barroco de Aotearoa”, an exhibition of six contemporary artists using a variety of media from sculpture to video to painting to photography, to produce the first-ever significant showing of New Zealand art in Mexico. Since then I have undertaken residencies at Arquetopia, Puebla Mexico, and No Lugar, Quito Ecuador, and was a visiting scholar at the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. In 2018 I worked on collaborative exhibitions in the United States at Wichita State University and the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
I believe the Americas, like Aotearoa New Zealand, are new Baroque cultures, sites of cultural complexity where the dominant Western paradigm rubs against other ways of being in the world. Thus change happens, and we need this, we need to find a way out of social and environmental exploitation, to use art to leave neo-liberalism behind and move towards something that might be socialism. Art to tell other kinds of stories about the world. Part of this, of course, involves trying to work out what it is to be to be Pākehā in 21stcentury Aotearoa New Zealand. That’s always been there, ever since I was a kid and realised that, not quite like my English Mum and Dad, Pōneke Wellington is home.