Wellington Scoop

New exhibitions at City Gallery in August

Press Release – City Gallery Wellington
Occulture: The Dark Arts
12 August – 19 November | Free

Art and the occult draw powers, rituals, and symbols from one another to re-enchant the world and redefine human experience. Spells are cast, thresholds crossed, astrological charts consulted. Occulture, taking over the entire ground floor of the Gallery, features over 60 works by New Zealand and international artists, historical and contemporary. It includes installations by Dane Mitchell (NZ) and Yin-Ju Chen (Taiwan) that charge the gallery with new energies, a painted spell by Mikala Dwyer (Australia), and a perfume carrying the scent of the apocalypse by Thomson and Craighead (UK). It also includes key earlier artists and works, among them Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising, and paintings by Aleister Crowley, the English ceremonial magician, and Rosaleen Norton, the Dunedin-born ‘witch of Kings Cross’.

John Stezaker: Lost World
26 August – 19 November | Free

For John Stezaker, collage involves ‘a yearning for a lost world’. The award-winning British artist makes his collages from out-of-date images—mostly vintage film stills, actor and actress head shots, and postcards. He crops and cuts shapes out of stills, recalibrating the action. He grafts portraits together, creating gender-and genre-blending hybrids. He creates surreal blends of faces and places. And more. It’s all very Rene Magritte. In addition to collages, Lost World includes poignant found-object sculptures of old mannequin hands, and a video, Crowd, presenting thousands of film stills in a bewildering blur.

Colonial Sugar
26 August – 19 November | Free

Jasmine Togo-Brisby and Tracey Moffatt explore the shameful history of Australia’s nineteenth-century sugar-slave trade. Togo-Brisby is a fourth-generation Australian South Sea Islander, living in Wellington. Her sculpture Bitter Sweet—a pile of skulls cast from unrefined sugar and resin—was prompted by the discovery of an unmarked mass grave on a former sugar plantation in Queensland. Tracey Moffatt’s Plantation photographs link this traumatic history with consumable literary and cinematic tropes. Moffatt is currently representing Australia in the Venice Biennale.

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