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Leading contemporary artists for Festival

29 October 2007

From Venice to Wellington…
Leading contemporary artists for Festival

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Paula Savage, Director City Gallery Wellington, has scored another coup for Wellington, securing two extraordinary shows from the 2007 Venice Biennale. Russian artist collaborative AES+F’s video work Last Riot received massive critical recognition and attention in Venice this year. It will show alongside New Zealand artists Brett Graham and Rachel Rakena’s Aniwaniwa, as part of the Gallery’s programme for the 2008 New Zealand International Arts Festival.

“We are particularly delighted to welcome home Aniwaniwa as well as offer New Zealanders the chance to see the work of provocative contemporary Russian artists AES+F,” Paula says. “Seeing the impact of these different but equally powerful works in Venice, I was determined to bring them to Wellington.”

Moscow based artists Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridkes, who make up AES+F, are hoping to join their work in Wellington for the Festival. Star of the Russian Pavilion’s group exhibition in Venice 2007, Last Riot is a three channel video work that explores the dehumanising effect of a constant media bombardment of images of violence and war. In a fantasy land, reminiscent of computer gaming, war looks like an enticing game to take part in.

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Highly-stylised images of beautiful young people invoke Benetton commercials but are loaded with graphic actions of violence, more akin to video gaming. Set to the music of Wagner, the youths riot and struggle in a bloodless, eternal war which demonstrates no difference between aggressor and victim.

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While the sinking city of Venice provided the perfect setting for Aniwaniwa, with its watery themes of submersion to represent cultural loss, Wellington is savouring the chance to host its triumphant return to New Zealand. Aniwaniwa was selected by Venice Biennale curator Professor Robert Storr, as a Biennale Collateral event. Rachael Rakena (Ngāi Tahu, Nga Puhi) and Brett Graham (Ngati Koroki Kahukura) not only highlight the flooding of the Waikato village of Horahora to create Lake Karapiro, but also use flooding and immersion to reflect on the international issues of rising sea levels and global warming. Aniwaniwa is a collection of wakahuia (treasure boxes) with internal projections and sound components suspended from the ceiling. The soundtrack by Whirimako Black and Deborah Wai Kapohe, with Paddy Free of Pitch Black, further adds to its intensity

AES+F: Last Riot
23 February - 15 June, 2008.
City Gallery Wellington
Civic Square, Wellington
citygallery@wmt.org.nz, www.citygallery.org.nz
Admission: FREE
Principal Sponsor:

Last Riot is on loan from leading Australian international art collector, Dr Dick Quan.
City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding support from Wellington City Council


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