Blog Archives
Yukari Kaihori – In Searching of Deities

17 March – 10 April

Yukari Kaihori

In Searching of Deities

The non-human agent, object and our immediate environment.

The past year was eventful. In addition to Covid-19, there were many political incidents and new radical social movements all over the world. It has been overwhelming and has made us wonder whether the world has gone crazy. However, when exposed to things that can overwhelm me, I like to remind myself that I need to connect to the reality of “here and now” and not to live in my ‘headspace’ too much. If everyone were to do this then eventually each of us could realise that the reality around us is not overwhelming or in conflict with ourselves. 

How we see things depends on what and how we believe. For my project In Searching for Deities, I examine different belief systems in opposition to Kantian theories that question the human-centric view of the world. This includes Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO), the ideas of Timothy Morton and Tetsurō Watsuji, and animistic beliefs like Shintoism. In doing so, I am also seeking ways to de-link from the progressive line of modernity as discussed by Walter Mignolo, the founder of the modernity/ coloniality school of thought. Following his position, I try not to participate in a hierarchical culture structure, but instead attempt to give back the power to the objects and spaces.  

Both Timothy Morton, a philosopher who works in the field of ecological studies, and Walter Mignolo, the scholar developed the argument that modernity and coloniality come together like light and shadow. As part of this comes how the meaning of the word “genius” was changed during the Romanticism movement of the 18th Century. Originally, ‘genius’ related to the spirits or deities residing in specific places. Before the 18th Century, saying ‘she has genius’ would have meant that the artist was positively influenced by the spirits. The spirit could inspire, protect and empower a person. In this sense the idea of ‘genius’ was similar to indigenous and animistic cultural values; the power belongs to places and without spirit man did not have the power to create. Colonization and modernization changed the meaning of ‘genius’. We now say ‘she is a genius’ as if she owns and possesses the power. In this project, I intend to use artworks that draw influence from the immediate environment: the exhibition space of RM gallery that comes with local deities and is attached to the community. The intention is to bring awareness to the “here and now”- the actual place we install works and with which we interact. 

Thought is given to considering objects and spaces as possessing spirits or being deities, which may motivate us to care more for our immediate environment. We may need to be aware of our immediate space, to be living ‘now’, and to be ecological. My recent studio practice is a site-specific project concerning the ‘here and now’ of the present time and space. By paying attention to a unique object or the space that one inhabits, the individual becomes more connected to the ‘now’. This installation aims to enhance and intensify the quality and characteristics of the existing space, including residues of artworks left from artists exhibited at RM. 

Sena Park – Aliveness_Symbiosis_on K-rd

Sena Park
Aliveness_Symbiosis_on K-rd
17th February – 13th March

We walk into human-made spider webs. The spider webs are exaggerated and modified from its natural size and form. We mingle with it. We can walk, rest, chat and eat freely around it ignoring its existence.

Humans are members of the ecological community on our planet, as are any other living organism. Unconsciously or consciously and intentionally or unintentionally, we break the balance and disturb our ecological system causing a global issue. Our complex society and relationships have balance and tension like the form of the spider web. My ongoing installation project Aliveness_Symbiosis represents that we live in our place without noticing that we are sharing our nature and living together with numerous cohabitants.

Daniel John Corbett Sanders – Urban Nothing

27 Jan – 13th Feb 2021

In space R
Daniel John Corbett Sanders
Urban Nothing

In Urban Nothing the ‘gay bathhouse’ is presented as a paradoxical figure of revolutionary utopia and commodity spectacle, as a fossilised archetype of social transformation and ruin of haunting cultural potential. Through queer narrative documentary, Sanders explores the sexually charged and commodity-entranced space of the gay bathhouse as a microcosm of late capitalism, and as an exemplary site for excavating how a queer perspective on inner-city reality might expose contradictions otherwise obscured by mythic narratives of progress. 

DANIEL JOHN CORBETT SANDERS (b.1994) is a Taranaki Pākehā multidisciplinary artist and independent curator. They studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology. Their work investigates the dreams and catastrophes of recent urban history viewed through new queer narratives of inner-city life. Recent exhibitions include Social Practice, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2020; Intimate Atmospheres, Artspace Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2019; After Jack, Window Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2018; Under Your Skin You Look Divine, Basement Specialist Adult Store and Sex Club, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2018. In 2020 Sanders founded Parasite, an artist-run gallery prioritising the exhibition of LGBTQ+ artists.

Emelia French – Sun Room

27 Jan – 13th Feb 2021
In space M
Emelia French
Sun Room

A soft warm glow
The body is listening
With a heartfelt intelligence
And a hand to the soil
Practising subterranean logics

Prepare the atmosphere: arrange the space
Waiting for something to arrive
An almost imperceptible murmuring 
Sensing, intuiting, receiving, responding
My touch is light 
Things are left open 

Form entangling with action
A poetry of gestures and marks 
Exchanges, reciprocities
Interdependently growing forms 
A cosmic relationality 

Traces are stories of action 
Surface: the place where we meet
Felt on the edge of the skin 
Discolouration, dents, peelings, rust, stain, warping, shrinking, cracking
Material bathed in the sun 

A quiet authority
And a trembling resonance 
Hovering just in reach
Between being something and nothing

Poetic irregularities and variabilities
Word play and world play
The limits of language and representation
Similes, metaphors and meteors 
Composites and compost
Circulating associations
The reflection of a sunset speaks loudly of days


Emelia French (b. 1994, Taranaki, Aotearoa) is an artist and researcher living in Tāmaki Makaurau. She is currently completing her PhD in Visual Arts at AUT University. Her practice is processual and transdisciplinary and includes storytelling, ceramics, painting, photography, bookmaking, metal-work and sculpture. 

The final line of this exhibition text, read as “The reflection of the sunset speaks loudly of days”, is a sentiment borrowed from Agnes Martin (journal entry, 1988). 

Samuel Montgomery and Daniel Ellison – What’s the Point

Space M
Samuel Montgomery and Daniel Ellison
What’s the Point
25 Nov – 12 Dec 2020

RM presents What’s the Point, a show of new work by Daniel Ellison and Samuel Montgomery that touches on a variety of issues contributing to what has so far been 2020. Reality and make-believe provided us with a monolithic pile of stories to mull over throughout the year, and as we watched all the bad guys and mediocre guys play them out, we became closer. While people around the world were thrown into various degrees of lockdown, us privileged folk—although physically restricted—took to the internet to experience the world we were missing out on and expand our minds. Aside from giving us cancer or whatever, 5G and social media still allowed us all to connect and share our experiences. Unfortunately, it also gave birth to some pretty frightening theories and events, revitalised old prejudices, and even turned some weirdos into celebrities. But the attention economy doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we. In What’s the Point, Ellison and Montogomery both present work made over the past few months as they both tried to maintain their practices and have a semi-normal life while navigating the various extremities taking place both here and overseas.

Matt Ritani – All Roads

Space R
Matt Ritani
All Roads
25 Nov – 12 Dec 2020

It feels like flying. Arcs, bumps, and the hills curl up. A parallel to the nape of your neck. Lines pour like water. Rumbles and cracks. They are everywhere we can get to. The trip is always out of time. 7.40 pm dark greens and the humidity of unbroken rain. Sometimes slow and dusty. Sometimes you think you could get crushed at any moment. A red zig-zag queries your kupu. How did we get here? Why is it like this? She walked all along Te Ika-a-Māui. We would marvel at their beauty if they weren’t so ordinary these colossal leaf vein systems. If you imagine the city, gaze east-west and see it rise and fall. Covering something doesn’t stop it from being there like painting over a painting. Our basements are cavities and our piles are not perfect cylinders. The foundation beams aren’t square. Our children, the archaeologists, will one day dig them up. They will stare at the mottled edges and wonder why we tied whenua to our intentions.

An essay by Tyson Schmidt, Roads are big business accompanies this exhibition and can be found here.

Julia Reynolds and Frances Duncan

Julia Reynolds
Frances Duncan
At The Horizon: Burdens and Possibilities of the Mother Tongue
Interactive Audio Visual Installation
4-21 November 2020

The installation seeks to traverse across three generations of women from a personal experience of this artist living in New Zealand; my mother, myself and my daughter as a mode of thinking about language as inheritance, and as systems of construction of the female, (withheld and at flux).

The site is set up as a ‘hot-desk’ within an already established office and working environment. Users are asked inhabit this space to engage with the 9 non-linear chapters which are inspired by Maya Deren’s essay, An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film (1946).

The user chooses chapters through an anagram template, suggesting that the linearity of information is of no-consequence to meaning, and instead there is a cross-over connectivity of themes through the anagram to suggest alternative systems of comprehension. The structure engages with the understanding of Mother-Daughter as a crossover of reference and identity.

Grant Priest – All by the side of the runway where it hums

Grant Priest
All by the side of the runway where it hums

4-21 November 2020

Kohuora Auckland South Corrections Facility is a prison complex operated by Serco, a multinational corporation based in the UK. Serco takes on contracts from governments around the world to operate public services on their behalf. The services they operate range from prisons to hospitals, border patrols to immigration. This complex is located next to Matukutūreia, a quarried out Pā site in Wiri, South Auckland, once home to a thriving Māori community with some of Aotearoa’s earliest remaining examples of Māori agriculture.   This initial film work is the beginning of a project exploring the relation between this land, the prison complex and my presence in this space. It approaches the problematic descriptive nature of film. It is intended as a documentation of time spent with this space; finding the lay of the land, familiarising myself with the environment and the wider structural and everyday contexts within which this facility exists.

Krystina Kaza – It’s a fine line

Krystina Kaza
It’s a fine line

4-21 November 2020

This exhibition makes use of a line that travels around the gallery, becoming an organising device that  supports work and integrates it with the architecture. The resulting interior environment sits somewhere between the Weiner Werkstatte’s notion of the Gesamtkunstwerk or ‘total work of art,’ which sought to create a unified aesthetic across a designed environment, and Adolf Loos’ and the Bauhaus’ rejection of the Werkstatte’s decorative tendencies in favour of a stringent functionalism. The line here is functional: it supports works physically and unifies different types of work.  It is not, however, immune to decorative flights of fancy: the decorative nature of the line transforms the ‘white cube’ of the gallery, softening it and giving it a slightly more domestic feel.  .

The idea of an interior ‘baseline’ goes back to Roman times, where painted or moulded lines were used to frame frescoes, and to create faux architectural details. The line in this exhibition will play off of traditional interior devices such as wainscoting and picture rails, which were functional, but which were also used to organise interior spaces,  connecting them to each other and creating visual focal points.  

Some of the work in It’s a Fine Line begins with imagery of historical abstract and decorative designs, while some of it begins with photographs taken in daily life – often while on walks or commuting to work. The combination of photographs and historical imagery kicks off a drawing process through which the work develops.  Some of these drawings and photos are included in the exhibition to create a context for the work, and to open it up to new interpretations.  

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