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Flying NZ flags in Switzerland

Flying NZ flags in Switzerland

One of Switzerland¹s leading photographers, Reto Camenisch, arrives in Wellington in late February to show his work during the International Festival of the Arts. A month later Wellington photographer Paul Thompson will travel in the opposite direction to exhibit a powerful series of images based on 19th-century Maori tribal flags.

Both exhibitions result from a visit to Wellington by art dealer Philippe Rey, looking for work for his new gallery in the heart of Zurich, the Swiss capital. He saw Thompson¹s photographs at Idiom Studio, and an international exchange was arranged.

Reto Camenisch uses a large-format Polaroid camera to produce brooding black-and-white landscapes almost two metres wide. These will be shown during March at Shed 11 on the Wellington waterfront as the inaugural show of Shed 11 PhotoFestival, a partnership between the New Zealand Centre for Photography , Wellington Museums Trust and Wellington Waterfront Ltd, in association with Idiom Studio and Galerie Reomerapotheke, Zurich. The show is supported by the Swiss Embassy and the Swiss Ambassador will open Reto¹s exhibition on Thursday 4 March. It runs until 4 April.

Also in this show are portraits of people displaying their tattoos, and Reto intends to take more of these during his New Zealand visit. ³I have a good friend who is a Maori tattooist, and I plan to go to a big tattoo convention in your country. People with tattoos, they use their body to make a picture, the same way a photographer makes a picture.²

Philippe Rey is confident that the cosmopolitan Zurich art audience has seen nothing like Paul Thompson¹s Niu Tireni (an early Maori term for New Zealand). For this exhibition, originally shown at Idiom Studio in 2002, Thompson made and photographed cloth flags inspired by the pennants and banners used by Maori prophets, leaders and tribes in peace and in war. One of these, Te Kooti¹s Te Wepu (The Whip) was an imposing seven metres long.

During his time in Zurich, Paul, who is also director of the Museum of Wellington City and Sea, will talk at Swiss museums on the history of New Zealand photography.

© Scoop Media

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