Crystal City: Contemporary Asian Artists

Crystal City: Contemporary Asian Artists
The New Dowse, Lower Hutt
16th July-16th October 2011

A mixed bag this, the sort of exhibition which has had a lot of thought and effort poured into it, but the results are strangely restrained and rather too dependent on technology for my liking. The artists involved have received some major international awards, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to a meaningful experience for the viewer.

The title comes from a hilarious looped video by Hye Rim Lee, featuring a computer-generated forest of rotating glass sex toys. Amazingly, it’s not at all rude – you can only tell what the objects are because they’re rotating. When we were there, a group of school kids were watching with enjoyment because of all the vibrating pink rabbits, which I’ve just found will set you back $60 at D-Vice. Later in Petone I passed an ad for the exhibition which featured a still from this film, and it looked perfectly innocent because it wasn’t moving.

There’s also a number of pieces from Hong Kong’s Pak Sheung-Cheun, which had some fun concepts behind it, but to be honest, Yoko Ono did it forty years ago. An entire empty white room is dedicated to amusing Zen-like instructions, printed on the wall.  I think he may have also read Lonely Planet’s Experimental Travel.

There was a rather elaborate setup (artist unknown, sorry) whereby an electrified koto triggers projected animation loops… while it was fun to pluck away at a real life koto (I found ‘E’! and ‘G’!) it was hard to tell what effect any activity had on the projection.

Anyway, thank goodness for the New Dowse and all it stands for. Thank goodness for any freely accessible resource which stimulates more than our pleasure centres.


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