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NZ artists at prestigious contemporary exhibition

Ministers’ release: 7 April 2017

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has congratulated three New Zealand artists whose work will be exhibited at documenta -  breaking new ground  for New Zealand art at one of the world’s most highly regarded contemporary art exhibitions.

“Held just once in every five years, it’s been a long term dream to see New Zealand art taking its place at documenta.  Works by Nathan Pohio, Mata Aho Collective and the late Ralph Hotere will be on show in Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece this year,” Ms Barry says.

“The 100 day exhibition will be shown at the two locations from tomorrow until September, with the New Zealand works exhibited in both cities.”

“The Athens’ exhibition is spread across more than 40 different public institutions, squares, cinemas, university locations, and libraries. Over 160 international artists, including those from New Zealand, will exhibit new works specifically created for documenta 14.”

Creative New Zealand, the Government’s arts funding agency, contributed $122,798 from its International Presentation Fund, to enable the work to be presented at documenta 14 and for New Zealand artists to attend.

Documenta was established by Kassel painter Professor Arnold Bode in 1955 as a way to bring Germany back into contact with the world after WW2 by connecting with the international art scene.

“The documenta 14 curatorial team visited New Zealand over the last two years to experience the work of a wide variety of New Zealand artists and gain an understanding of its cultural context.  These works on show are the end result,” Ms Barry says.

In 2012 more than 905,000 visitors went to Kassel for documenta 13.

About the artists:

Hone Papita Raukura (Ralph) Hotere, ONZ (1931- 2013) (Te Aupōuri)

  • Ralph Hotere’s 1971 work Malady Panels (acrylic on canvas, 1802 x 7605mm) is being lent to documenta 14 by Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. The seven Malady Panels can be considered as part of Hotere’s series of Black Paintings which he began in 1968.
  • Hotere is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most significant artists nationally and internationally. He studied in New Zealand and in 1961 at the Central School of Art and Design in London. He went on to study, work and exhibit in United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy before returning to New Zealand in 1965
  • The Malady Panels take their title from a pattern poem by Bill Manhire. The poem is a play on words ‘malady’, ‘melody’, and ‘my lady’, implying the sickness that can accompany love. The poem was used as the basis of several of Hotere’s works in the early 1970s.

Mata Aho Collective

  • Mata Aho Collective is Erena Baker, Sarah Hudson, Bridget Reweti and Terri Te Tau. The collective produces large scale textile works and their practice is founded within the contemporary realities of mātauranga Māori. All work is attributed to Mata Aho Collective as a single entity.
  • Mata Aho Collective focuses on everyday materials that are iconic within Māori communities. Their work for documenta 14, Kiko Moana, uses light-duty blue tarpaulin that is folded, stitched and slashed. Employing accessible materials and customary Māori sewing tools and techniques the work explores how innovation becomes tradition.

Nathan Pohio (Waitaha, Kati Mamoe, Ngāi Tahu)

  • Nathan Pohio will present two different large photographic works with the title Raise the anchor, unfurl the sails, set course for the centre of an ever setting sun! – one for a public space in Kassel and the other for the EMST, which is Athen’s museum of contemporary art and the city’s main venue for documenta 14.
  • The work reproduces a photograph recording the visit of the British Governor General and his wife, Lord and Lady Plunket, to Tuahiwi. The site is home to Ngāi Tūāhuriri and played a vital role in Ngāi Tahu history. Pohio sourced the image from a 1905 edition of the Canterbury Times
  • The work has been described as a mesmerizing.

Updated on 12th April 2017