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Passionate Instincts, The Physics Room- Christchurch

Passionate Instincts, The Physics Room- Christchurch


Alexis Hunter, Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Darcell Apelu, Ana Iti, Joanna Neumegen, val smith, Jaimee Stockman-Young

Curated by Henry Davidson, Amelia Hitchcock, Emma Ng and Ted Whitaker

October 7 – November 15, 2016

Passionate Instincts is an exhibition curated by Henry Davidson, Amelia Hitchcock, Emma Ng and Ted Whitaker. With this act of collective curating as a working method, Passionate Instincts explores the tension between a desire for individual identity – specifically the desire for a radical selfhood – and the wish to construct, be located within, and contribute to a community that strives for the betterment of everyone.

Included in this show is a painting by Alexis Hunter, which acts as a provocation for the other participating artists. Hunter’s 1984-5 work Passionate Instincts XIII depicts a ferocious, feline-like creature amidst a smoggy tempest of brushwork. Baring her teeth within the storm that threatens to envelop her, she is poised to move; on the brink of attack. Transfixed by this image, this painting has been adopted as a talisman, harnessing its galvanising force. In a moment of uncertainty we choose to approach boldly. Though a torrent of information muddles our way, we step forward with Hunter’s agent of courage as our compass.

We are all navigating our own selves. In fact, this activity has begun to define our generation, although this is often understood negatively, as vanity. But where do we situate our politics, our ethics, without first making sense of the self? Here in Aotearoa New Zealand we also seek to enact decolonising methodologies, negotiating this struggle alongside or within our own identity politics. Passionate Instincts explores the paralysis that is often the result of these conflicting desires, through a shifting whakapapa of alliances and interjections; a tangle of intra-generational connections. The artists in this exhibition resurface forgotten histories, untether conditioned bodies, and express freights of emotional power; exposing fear and anger as forces that both produce and limit us.

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How can our quests for self-hood become the foundation for necessary collective social change? On uncertain terrain, what hope do we have except to begin by erecting our own campaign tents?

Passionate Instincts is presented as one outcome of the Emerging Curators Programme 2015/16 facilitated by The Physics Room and The Blue Oyster Art Project Space and funded by Creative New Zealand’s Sector Development Incentive Fund.


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