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Govett-Brewster Launches Sublime Summer Programme

Media Release

8 December 2003

Govett-Brewster launches sublime summer programme

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery's summer programme bursts into life this weekend with the opening of Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime, a major international exhibition exploring society's fascination with the impact of science on the environment and humanity.

Opening December 13, this dynamic and high-tech exhibition features an array of leading contemporary artists who present works that range across the media spectrum, from installations that include genetically modified material and textured sculptures of toxic waste, to interactive video projections and photographs of unnaturally large flowers. "Bloom will undoubtedly be the most exciting contemporary art event in New Zealand this summer", said exhibition curator and Gallery Director Greg Burke

"While encouraging debate around developments such as genetic manipulation and humanity's responsibilities to the environment Bloom also asks the question - why is the monstrous in nature so fascinating?"

Many of the works come direct to the Govett-Brewster from recent international biennales. The synthetic gene work Genesis by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kac was featured in the 2001 Yokohama Triennale, while Japanese/Vietnamese artist Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba's work referring to the dumping of mercury in Japan comes from this year's Venice Biennale, as does a work of Japanese artist Motohiko Odani, who depicts an 'Alice in Wonderland' like world replete with toadstools, frogs with human ears and a young girl with a lizard's tongue.

Amongst the array of hauntingly beautiful if sometimes disturbing works the exhibition includes works by New Zealand artists Boyd Webb, Denise Kum and David Hatcher, reflecting the Gallery's commitment to presenting New Zealand contemporary art in an international context.

The latest topic in the Gallery's annual summer forum Biennales: do we need them? acknowledges the exhibits in Bloom as well as the content of the concurrent exhibition Fiji Biennale Pavilions. This exhibition, by the Gallery's 2003 artist in residence Mladen Bizumic, presents models and proposals for a major international art show in the tropical setting of Fiji.

The forum, to be held on Sunday 14 December at midday and moderated by Greg Burke, will feature a panel of leading visual arts speakers including the General Manager of the prestigious Biennale of Sydney Paula Latos-Valier; Rob Garrett, Manager of Art Services at Creative New Zealand and artists Mladen Bizumic and Jacqueline Fraser.

"The panel will address the current proliferation of international biennale exhibitions that have spread around the globe to locations as diverse as Brisbane, Dakar in Senegal and Gwang-ju in Korea. The discussion will cover whether biennales have become model exhibitions in the age of globalisation; whether New Zealand should participate in these events and if biennales benefit artists or advance curatorial, national, and art-market interests," said Mr Burke.

Following the forum discussion, Australian artist Hany Armanious, and European based New Zealand artists Denise Kum and David Hatcher will talk about their works in the exhibition Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime at 2.00pm.

Bloom: mutation, toxicity and the sublime
13 December 2003 - 26 February 2004

Summer Forum: Biennales: do we need them?
12.00pm Sunday 14 December
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Theatre

Artists' tour with Hany Armanious, Denise Kum
and David Hatcher
2.00pm Sunday 14 December
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery


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