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The 12th edition of the Auckland Festival of Photography focuses on the theme – Truth and Fiction. In the Signature Series Exhibitions a number of local artists showcase their work along with selected international guests. Here’s a snapshot of what’s on offer.

Fiona Amundsen – The Imperial Body

Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine was established in 1869 in honour of those who died serving the Emperor. For decades soldiers departing for war have uttered the phrase ‘If I don’t come home, I’ll see you at Yasukuni,’ to families and loved ones, and Yasukuni is fixed in the annals of Japanese warfare.
In her series The Imperial Body, New Zealand photographer Fiona Amundsen draws on her academic background in social anthropology to explore “the contentious Yasukuni Shrine” with the aim “to provoke new experiences of historicised narratives that both pay homage to trauma, but resist holding histories as static or fixed”.

Amundsen says, “I am neither Japanese nor Anglo-American, but a New Zealander who brings a perspective to this material that has undoubtedly been shaped by my own experiences of learning about not only WWII, but also Japanese and American military histories. Accordingly, as a New Zealander, while interested in the discourses that surround WWII, I’m also looking for the counter histories that reside within such dominant rhetoric as it is ascribed to both the allied and axis powers. I’m interested in confronting what can be pre-given or non-negotiable fixed ‘images’ (visual and narrative based) of history, regardless of specific cultural origin. Ultimately, my practice aims to produce artworks that continually reflect on their position as being essentially a ‘cultural outsider’ who comes from, and is firmly rooted to the Asia Pacific region”.

Fiona Amundsen – The Imperial Body
Gus Fisher Gallery

University of Auckland
74 Shortland Street
2 June – 11 July

Jae Hoon Lee – Omnipresent

A self-proclaimed cultural wanderer, New Zealand based Jae Hoon Lee, who is originally from Seoul, showcases his work Omnipresent in this year’s Signature Series.

Omnipresent is an artistic departure for Lee and is the result of a six-month residency in 2014 at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York. By layering original photographs taken across multiple occasions and locales, Lee weaves fragmentary images into dense, digital compositions. Elusively hyper-real, Lee’s landscapes build a technologically amplified version of the world around him. 

Lee calls his practice of stitching multiple photographs together to create a single work, ‘time-based’. His intention here is to envelop multiple moments within these mural-scale images creating an artwork that moves the viewer beyond reality and into the realm of the surreal.

Jae Hoon Lee – Omnipresent
Until 20 June
Trish Clark Gallery
1 Bowen Avenue

Anne Noble – No Vertical Song

Anne Noble’s exhibition No Vertical Song comprises 15 portraits of dead bees. But this exhibition is more than a microscopic view of the Apis in rigor; it is a commentary on our relationship with the natural world and explores the notion of a time when the bee may be extinct. Noble is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated photographers. This year Noble was given the Overseas Photographer Award in the 31st Higashikawa Awards in Japan.

Anne Noble – No Vertical Song
Until 4 July
Two Rooms
16 Putiki Street
Newton, Auckland

 

Maria Kapajeva – Interiors

This series by Russian artist Maria Kapajeva comprises digitally manipulated collage artworks that use found photographs. In Kapajeva’s artworks we see Russian women in their domestic environment adopting the poses that Western mass media use to exemplify female sexuality. This commentary on the clash of cultures and the labelling of women builds on Kapajeva’s body of work that focuses on women’s issues in contemporary society and the cultural and social stereotypes that are perpetuated by the mass media.

Maria Kapajeva – Interiors
Until 17 June
Silo Park
Wynyard Quarter

 

Murray Lloyd and Peter Evans – Oil & Water: Is clean water the new oil?

The works of two New Zealand photographers – Wellington based Murray Lloyd and Auckland’s Peter Evans – combine in this exhibition to explore the notion that clean water may soon become a precious, and valuable, global commodity as pollution and climate change influence the availability of this essential resource.

Murray Lloyd and Peter Evans – Oil & Water: Is clean water the new oil?
Until 24 June

Depot Artspace, Main Gallery
28 Clarence Street
Devonport

 

Sandra Chen Weinstein – California & American Pride

In the late 1990s Sandra Chen Weinstein moved to Southern California after living in large metropolises in China, Japan and Taiwan. Weinstein says living in Orange County “I became acutely aware of the solitude and the very different and disconnected lifestyle experienced in a community separated by freeways. Californian State highways divide widespread suburban landscapes. Fences divide communities. In their isolation, neighbourhoods are often missed when passing through due to the overwhelming traffic”. 

Using photography to understand this foreign landscape, Weinstein took many of the images that feature in her series California while travelling on the highways through neighbourhoods and country areas. “Like most of my photography, my works are un-staged and represent a moment in time; I like to allow the subject to lead us to itself,” she says. 

In this exhibition Weinstein features images from California and her other series American Pride which was shot primarily in San Francisco with the LGBT community in the Bay Area. “I have always been interested in culture and the human condition, including the complexity of one’s identity and sexuality,” she says.

Sandra Chen Weinstein – California & American Pride
Until 16 June

Hum Salon
123 Grafton Road
Grafton

 

Lisa Reihana – In Pursuit of Venus (infected)

A multi-disciplinary artist of Maori descent Lisa Reihana often enlists friends and family to create her elaborate, cinematic artworks that draw on the complexities of photographic and filmic languages. “If there is any Maori philosophy that I work with more than any other, it is that sense of community. I love people and the notion of community, friends and places to come together, so I utilise my work, digital and actual, to play around with that idea,” she says.

In Pursuit of Venus (infected) is a multi-disciplinary project which “challenges thestereotypes developed through the gaze of imperialism and reappraises a widely distributed European representation of the Pacific from the early 19th Century in the form of Joseph Dufour’s 1804 scenic wallpaper, Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique.” Here Reihana “refreshes, reactivates and reenergises these ideas from a Pacific perspective using digital technologies to create an immersive experience for audiences. This exhibition marks the world premiere of one of the most ambitious screen-based projects from Aotearoa New Zealand by one of the country’s most admired artists”.

Lisa Reihana – In Pursuit of Venus (infected)
Until 30 August

Auckland Art Gallery
Toi o Tamaki

 

FESTIVAL
Auckland Festival of Photography
From 28th May to 20th June, 2015

http://www.photographyfestival.org.nz

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