2014 | LODGE IN YOUR THROAT, IN PURSUIT OF VENUS OF THE WALL: MEREDITH NICKIE, LISA REIHANA, CORA-ALLAN WICKLIFFE
EXHIBITION FROM OCTOBER 22 TO NOVEMBER 29, 2014
AXENÉO7 is proud to present two new solo shows by artist-in-residence Meredith Nickie (New York) and foreign visiting artist Lisa Reihana (Auckland), and a special commissioned performance by Cora-Allan Wickliffe (Auckland). Three powerful artistic voices collide in a suite of exhibitions and performances dealing with history, politics and the body. We are also launching the new publication La nourriture en art performatif (Food in Performance Art) by Gatineau-based author and professor Mélanie Boucher.
In his essay commissioned for the exhibition, Meredith Nickie: (Dis-) Lodgings and Dwellings, John A. Tyson writes: “In Dragon’s Teeth (2014), so-called “anti-homeless spikes” become art objects. Hand-reproduced by Nickie and translated into the gallery, the forms slide towards preciousness and beauty. Yet, while the pointy modules seem to be very much in conversation with works like Walter De Maria’s Beds of Spikes (1969), the petit dragon teeth — which mimic anti-tank bollards and animal control devices — still fulfill some of their intended purpose: spatial control. This duality is key. Nickie hopes that visitors will contemplate the spikes on multiple levels — first aesthetically, but then, upon further rumination, socio-politically: what are their implications for collective living? Should owners of real estate prevent unwanted lodgers from dwelling too long? What are the limits of control? The concrete mattress Nickie places on top — its seemingly softer form an eroded echo of the geometries below — seems to call for the implementation of occupation tactics. The battle against homelessness must be waged less literally: not against the bodies of those without homes.”
Cora-Allan Wickliffe, in her essay on Lisa Reihana’s video installation in Pursuit of Venus, reveals: “During the early 1800s, Jean-Gabriel Charvet and Joseph Dufour were among the many who pursued and promoted supposedly empirical and scientific methods of discovery. Charvet was a painter and designer who researched texts and images produced by travellers to the South Pacific region, including accounts from the journals of Captain James Cook and Louis de Bougainville. Without ever having visited the region, Charvet designed a classicizing depiction of the South Pacific and, in collaboration with entrepreneur and manufacturer Dufour, produced an elaborate panoramic wallpaper which was the first of its kind in France. Māori artist Lisa Reihana employs moving-image methods to deconstruct the narratives fabricated in Les Sauvages de la mer du Pacifique. Her artwork in Pursuit of Venus, a panoramic video made in response to Charvet and Dufour’s neoclassical wallpaper design, relocates and empowers Indigenous identity as it breaks down historically constructed representations. Reihana’s audiovisual installation initiates the dismantling of colonial notions of history, beauty and myths, positioning Reihana as the storyteller — which is a fundamental role from an Indigenous perspective, as Indigenous traditions and history were often passed down orally through story forms. In taking on this role, Reihana exposes dark, previously concealed stories that would not have been deemed suitable for adorning walls in colonial residences.”
Lisa Reihana’s project is presented in collaboration with articule (Montréal) and supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through the Visiting Foreign Artists Program. AXENÉO7 is funded by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Gatineau. We also thank the École multidisciplinaire de l’image (Université du Québec en Outaouais), Les éditions Le Sabord, the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective and the wine bar Soif de Véronique Rivest for their kind assistance with the opening reception and publication launch.
Meredith Nickie was born in Toronto. She lives and works in New York City and Toronto. Through sculpture, installation and photography, Nickie explores narratives of resistance and complicity in form and meaning. These diverse works challenge conventional ideas of structure, taste and progress in representations of race and class framed by the enduring legacies of culture and capital. She holds a BFA from York University and an MFA from Cornell University, Ithaca. She also completed, in 2009, the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in New York City. She also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in the summer of 2007. Among her solo shows: You Done Slip at Circa in Montreal, Deploy Back at the Artspace in New Haven, This is Going Down at Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia, Cartographies of Desire at A Space Gallery in Toronto. Premiering at AXENÉO7, Lodge in Your Throat is her tenth solo show.
Lisa Reihana is a Māori multi-media artist based in Aotearoa, New Zealand. She holds a BFA from the Fine Arts Elam School where she mostly practiced sculpture. Reihana reinterprets Māori mythology through the lens of contemporary culture. In providing modern accessibility to Māori history and lore, she bestows respect and prestige upon this fertile indigenous culture and confirms its universal inclusiveness. The striking figures that occupy Lisa Reihana’s photographs and video installations are equally informed by her inspiration from fantasy, advertising and computer games, rendering them almost instantly familiar to the viewer. An alternate narrative of gender is threaded throughout her work, navigating conceptions of the masculine, the feminine and the androgynous. Reihana has held a number of residencies, most recently at the McMahon House in Auckland, New Zealand in 2009. Her work in film, video, installation photography and performance has been exhibited internationally, including two recent Canadian presentations: Home on Native Land at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto in 2012 and Close Encounters at Plug In Institute Winnipeg in 2011.
Cora-Allan Wickliffe is a multidisciplinary māori visual artist, who examines constructed identities of Indigenous people through explorative bodies of work that analyze colonial and touristic-driven perceptions. Currently, she has explored these constructions through performance, installation and social participatory art forms. From being involved in Niuean performance growing up and as an active member of Auckland-based Te Taha Tu Kapa Haka roopu, her performance works often derive actions, ceremonial gestures, songs and aka from her performing arts background. With a background in education and a strong connection to her whakapapa, Wickliffe seeks continuous learning experiences by engaging with other Indigenous cultures, and creating opportunities to exchange in conversation surrounding ideas around Indigenous constructed identities. She is currently working as an Indigenous Preparatory Work Study at the Walter Phillips Gallery in Banff.
Mélanie Boucher is a professor in museology and heritage at the École multidisciplinaire de l’image of the Université du Québec en Outaouais. Specialized in the art of 20th and 21st centuries, and most particularly in the subject of food in performative art, she pursues her curatorial practice. She has curated exhibitions for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (2008-2009, 2002), the Galerie de l’UQAM (2011, 2009, 2007) and the Musée d’art de Joliette (2009), among others. Between 2002 and 2005, she worked to implement Orange, L’événement d’art actuel de Saint-Hyacinthe, a triennial about agri-food topics. She has produced and edited publications, and has published writing in various publications and magazines, many dealing with the theme of food.