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Govett-Brewster takes Japanese Art To Auck + Wgtn

Govett-Brewster takes contemporary Japanese art and music to Auckland and Wellington

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is pleased to present an extensive performance, speaker and music programme to be held in Auckland and Wellington in association with Mediarena: contemporary art from Japan, the largest exhibition of contemporary Japanese art ever to be held in New Zealand.

A national lecture series featuring Fumio Nanjo, one of Japan’s most internationally recognised curators, and performances by flamboyant Japanese rock glamourists Gorgerous are highlights of the touring component of the Govett-Brewster’s latest major exhibition.

Fumio Nanjo Gorgerous

Fumio Nanjo, a co-curator of Mediarena, was recently appointed Deputy Director of the Mori Art Museum, a new major art museum situated in Roppongi on the top floors of Tokyo’s tallest building. He was one of four curators of the inaugural Yokohama Triennale in 2001 and served as the Japanese Commissioner for the Venice Biennale in 1997 and Commissioner for the 1998 Taipei Biennale, Site of Desire. He is also a selector for the current UK-based Artes Mundi world art prize, which features New Zealand artist Jacqueline Fraser as one of the ten finalists.

Mr Nanjo will present an illustrated lecture on Mediarena at 5.15pm on Monday 15 March at Te Papa in Wellington and at 6pm on Tuesday 16 March at the Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium.

“It is a great pleasure to give audiences and art professionals in Wellington and Auckland an opportunity to hear this internationally respected curator and director. Mediarena is the result of four year’s work by Mr Nanjo and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery with the aim of increasing the level of artistic dialogue between New Zealand and Japan,” said Gallery Director and co-curator of Mediarena Gregory Burke. Kentaro Ichihara, a leading Japanese art critic and writer and board member of the Mori Art Museum, will also speak as part of Mediarena Lectures in April, Mr Burke said.

Gorgerous, featuring Mediarena artist Hiroyuki Matsukage and Muneteru Ujino will perform in Mediarena Lounge, a multifaceted event featuring performances and presentations by artists, performers and curators to be held in Wellington and Auckland.

“The evening event is designed to offer the chance to learn more about Japanese contemporary art in a relaxed atmosphere,” said Mr Burke. “Art has a strong social dimension and crossover events like this are popular in Tokyo, drawing both art and music audiences.”

Gorgerous will provide the performance highlight of the evening using their “love arm” instruments – their renowned handmade instruments featuring motorbike handlebars and mirror balls that double as sculptures and musical and light instruments. Their images and performances draw on the mass consumer world of rock, sport, science fiction and fashion as well as art traditions going back to 1920’s Futurism and the “happenings” of the 1960s. A display of Gorgerous’ photographic images, posters and love arm sculptures conveying their interest in the synthesis of American and Japanese culture was a highlight of the London exhibition Tokyo GlamRock in 2002.

“Gorgerous have devised a special hour-long set for their New Zealand appearances with new costumes and dynamic computer graphic projections. The set includes a humorous tribute to American Rock and Roll featuring songs by Elvis Presley, amongst others” said Mr Burke.

Hiroyuki Matsukage will discuss his work, including his major interactive installation Star included in Mediarena, alongside Tadasu Takamine, a leading Japanese video and performance artist whose work focuses on sexuality, humanity and the body. Takamine, who is a past member of the high tech performance group Dumbtype, will discuss his acclaimed work God Bless America included in Mediarena.

Noboru Tsubaki, Associate Professor at Tezukayama Gakuin University, Osaka and Director of Inter-Medium Institute, Osaka, and the Gallery’s latest international artist in residence will discuss his recent projects, including works made in New Zealand for the Govett-Brewster.

Roger McDonald , co-curator of Mediarena, Deputy Director of AIT (Arts Initiative Tokyo) and an internationally regarded lecturer on Japanese art will speak on contemporary art in Tokyo. McDonald, who hosts and plays at a regular experimental DJ event at club Minglius in Tokyo, will DJ for the evening.

Mediarena Lounge will be held in Wellington at 8.00pm on Monday 15 March @ Happy and in Auckland at 8.00pm on Wednesday 17 March @ 4:20.

Asia 2000, Creative New Zealand, the Japan World Exposition Commemorative Fund, the New Zealand Community Trust and the New Zealand Japan Exchange Programme are supporting the extensive performance, speaker and music programmes to be held in Auckland, New Plymouth and Wellington.

“We are pleased to acknowledge the generous support of these key sponsors who are enabling the Govett-Brewster to bring this exhibition to the widest audience and increase cultural exchange between Japan and New Zealand.” said Mr Burke.


Fumio Nanjo Wellington: 5.15pm Monday 15 March, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Auckland: 6pm Tuesday 16 March, Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium

Kentaro Ichihara Auckland: 6pm Monday 26 April, Auckland Art Gallery Auditorium Wellington: 6.30pm Thursday 29 April, Te Papa


Wellington: 8.00pm Monday 15 March, @ Happy, cnr Vivian and Tory St Auckland: 8.00pm Wednesday 17 March @ 420, 373 K’Rd, above the Rising Sun

Entry to these events is free, but donations are encouraged. To reserve a ticket ph: 06 758 5149 or email

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