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New Installations By Ronnie Van Hout, Seung Yul Oh

15 October 2008


Te Papa’s Sculpture Terrace Transformed With New Installations By Ronnie Van Hout And Seung Yul Oh

Two new contemporary art projects open on 18 October on the Level 6 Sculpture Terrace: A Loss, Again by Ronnie van Hout and Oddooki by Seung Yul Oh.

The Inner Terrace hosts A Loss, Again (until June 2010), in which van Hout examines loss and memory of his father and his locked tool shed. As a boy van Hout was not allowed access to the shed, which as a result, was a source of great fascination to him. It was only after van Hout senior’s death that the artist was able to get into the shed. As something that long held him in thrall, it was a bittersweet moment to finally gain access.

A Loss, Again comprises two replicas of the shed. One shed contains the objects — tools, ropes, shelves, boxes, a fridge — from the original shed, the other emanates sound and light suggesting an unseen occupant engaged in activity within. Van Hout’s work abounds with replicas, usually based on self-portraits — plastic head casts, life-sized body doubles, videotaped monologues. In this case he has created a portrait of both himself and his father through the use of the shed (doubled for ‘father’ and ‘son’) and its objects, sound, video and light. Through these resonant objects and devices van Hout represents his father and himself.

Seung Yul Oh’s project, on the Outer Terrace until May 2009, is a playful collection of five egg-shaped birds that rock and chime. Based on the weighted toys that always right themselves, the works contrast a folksy aesthetic with the formal sculptural properties of high-gloss finished surfaces. The title of the installation is based on a translation of the Korean word for these rocking toys into English letters, giving us the intriguing Oddooki.

Oh takes advantage of Wellington’s natural elements by creating a work that is activated by the wind and animated by other natural elements such as the play of summer light on the glossy surface of the works. Oh refers to the pieces that make up Oddooki as ‘performance sculptures’ that ‘might be read as players in an orchestra, each generating their own unique tones, or as a dance ensemble of quirky egg-like figures choreographed by the wind.’


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