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Two New Exhibitions At The Physics Room


Two New Exhibitions At The Physics Room

Gestapo Pussy Ranch
Dan Arps
15 November – 15 December 2007

Opening preview: Wednesday 14 November 2007, 5.00pm

You would think that dwelling on the proliferation of mindlessness and the potential for depravity that this suggestively titled tableaux presents, Dan Arps’ Gestapo Pussy Ranch would position itself knowingly just over the line and deep in the trenches vs. notions of morality, propriety and the morbid leisure-driven society of the everyday. But here, fascism and pornography are more emblematic of the tyranny of influence and pressing demands for disclosure than actual sex or Nazis.

Returning to Christchurch for his first solo show here in six years, Gestapo Pussy Ranch promises to plumb postmodernism’s apathetic camouflage with straight-faced “cynicism” and sardonic panache. A title spotted by a young woman on a bookshelf in the aptly titled Bret Easton Ellis novel The Informers, Gestapo Pussy Ranch positions itself as a glossed-over, empty but invective title which functions tardis-like to set up a recursive fiction within a fiction.

As ever, Arps is more interested in the opening up of a space than providing an analogy for some sort of contemporary “topic”, unless the topic was the interrogation of the idea that art has static content. The spaces he institutes tend to wobble and shimmer conceptually as the tweakiness of our totally high capitalist delirium finds itself channelled with all the hyper-lucidity of the depressed.

Existing within an everyday realm governed by the excesses of postproduction, amidst the chaos of commodities and the conditioning that sustains their consumption, Gestapo Pussy Ranch is at once complicit and catalytic. Nesting within the presented scene Arps creates a narrative that is at once evasive yet frank. Presenting us with an abandoned, makeshift theatre, antithetical to the depopulated, clarity of the white cube, Arps subverts our expectations of the more “earnest” exhibitionism that usually takes place within the secluded domain of the gallery.

Just as the term Gestapo is shorthand for Geheime Staatspolizei, Arps asks us to discard the easily read surface in favour of the complexities of the multi-directional, deep-running currents that constitute our experiences of power via the most apparently unremarkable of things. If dominance is most often exercised through the social structures of censorship and denial, Gestapo Pussy Ranch trusts us to make much of the elements pooled together in this occupation of sorts in order to more thoughtfully expose those cultural flows that many would prefer to believe are best kept clandestine.

Dan Arps graduated with an MFA from the Elam School of Fine Arts in 2006 and has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in New Zealand and Australia. Arps has been complicit in a number of projects and initiatives including the artist run space Black Cube (Christchurch 2001–2) and Gambia Castle (Auckland 2007–ongoing) and is one of the founding editors of online visual art magazine Natural Selection. Recent solo projects include Harsh Tudorbethan Reality (2007), The Engine Room, Wellington and Affirmation Dungeon (2007), Gambia Castle, Auckland. Other recent exhibitions and projects this year include the group show ARPS/TEAGUE/GEORGETTI, Michael Lett, Auckland; Existence, Waikato Museum, Hamilton; The Shining Path, Carlton Club and Studios, Melbourne; I Dig Your Voodoo, Joint Hassles, Melbourne; Omnipresents, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne; and Super Natural at The Physics Room in 2006. Arps is currently represented by Gambia Castle and Michael Lett in Auckland, and Neon Parc, Melbourne.

The Physics Room receives major funding from Creative New Zealand/Toi Aotearoa.
Colonial Atmospheres
Mladen Bizumic

In collaboration with Andrew Paul Wood
15 November – 15 December 2007

Opening preview: Wednesday 14 November 2007, 5.00pm

Artists talk: Thursday 16 November 2007, 12.30pm

Working in a broad range of media encompassing video, sound, photography, and sculpture Mladen Bizumic explores the relationships that exist between subjectivity and representation, physical locations and psychological states, notions of memory and the experience of displacement.

Regularly using pre-existing cultural material as scenarios set to dismantle, Bizumic constructs new situations to reveal the more unconscious aspects of human production. Often inviting other artists, musicians or other professionals to collaborate on exhibitions, Bizumic presents a translational model that intends to question the meaning of various cultural structures by systematically exploring the bonds that unite individuals, groups and images to produce new relationships and connections. Here Bizumic invited local writer Andrew Paul Wood to translate his moving image into a script/poem which has then been incorporated back into the presentation of Colonial Atmospheres.

This installation provides a glimpse of Bizumic’s cinematic hybrid that blends a scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 dystopian film Weekend and a slowed-down orchestral cover of The Rolling Stones’ 1966 hit Under My Thumb. The camera circles endlessly, scenes repeat, change colour and wash out into a space of uncertainty. As the loop takes us through time and space, there is no sense of resolution.

Privileging the process of translation, Colonial Atmospheres revels in the slippages and distortions of conversion. By expanding the site of experience the script/poem becomes both a poetic interpretation of the video and an art work in its own right that continues to investigate the space between action and reflection, personal memorial constructs and collective understandings of history.

Never before screened in New Zealand, Colonial Atmospheres was originally commissioned in 2006 for the exhibition HIGH TIDE–New Currents in Art from Australia and New Zealand, Zacheta–National Museum of Art, Warsaw and has also been shown at Korridor, Berlin; Charim Galerie, Vienna; and in the 2nd Moscow Biennale, Moscow.

Mladen Bizumic graduated with an MFA from the Elam School of Fine Arts in 2003 and divides his time between Berlin, Germany and Auckland, New Zealand. He was the Creative New Zealand Artist in Residence in 2006 in Berlin and the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago in 2004. Recent solo exhibitions include How If A Translation in III Acts, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin and PROGRAM: initiative for art and architectural collaborations, Berlin; 10th Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul, Turkey; 9th Lyon Biennale, Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France; Art of the Nation, Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington; Fiji Biennale Pavilions, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery; Tauranga Guggneheim, ARTSPACE, Auckland.

His works are included in the following public collections: Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington; Auckland Art Gallery; University of Auckland; Hocken Library and University of Otago; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth; Ursula Blickle Lounge at the Kunsthalle Vienna. Bizumic is represented by Sue Crockford Gallery, Auckland and Charim Galerie, Vienna. For more information visit


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