OCMA premieres new work by New Zealand artist Yuki Kihara as part of The Pacific Project initiative
Maui Descending a Staircase II (After Duchamp), 2015
On view April 2 through July 10, 2016
NEWPORT BEACH, CA—The Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) presents the third installment of The Pacific Project video art series. The museum is showcasing the work of New Zealand video artist Yuki Kihara with a United States debut of her recent work Maui Descending a Staircase II (After Duchamp), 2015. Kihara is a leading Samoan-born interdisciplinary artist currently based in Apia, Samoa; Auckland, New Zealand; and Sydney, Australia. Her work engages in a variety of social, political, and cultural issues, often referencing Pacific history and the varying relationships among gender, race, culture, and politics. The video presentation is on view April 2 through July 10, 2016.
“For this installment in the Pacific Project series, I chose Yuki’s work for its tripartite reference to early modernism, post colonialism and contemporary explorations of sport, spectatorship, and masculinity. We are pleased to present the United States premiere of this video in the museum’s Pacific Project gallery,” said OCMA Director and CEO Todd D. Smith”
Maui Descending a Staircase II (After Duchamp)
Maui Descending a Staircase II (After Duchamp) is a silent performance video work created as part of a larger series titled ‘A Study of a Samoan Savage’ (2015). In this series comprised of photography and video work, Kihara focuses on Maui, a Polynesian demi-god performing a variety of movements. The work draws upon several art historical and cultural references, including Marcel Duchamp’s painting, Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 (1912; photographers Étienne-Jules Marey (French, 1830 – 1904) and Eadweard Muybridge’s (English, 1830-1904) use of sequential motion in photography; and the history of the Samoan colonial experience during the 19th century. Maui Descending a Staircase II (After Duchamp) ties together the (Western) medium of motion photography with Samoan Indigenous reference to Ta/time and Va/space. Within this Samoan ideology the figure in the video walks forward into the past while walking back into the future, the present is a continuous and simultaneous journey into the ancestral realm of the future.
Beyond the world of the history of art, Kihara’s Maui Descending references the ongoing concern that surrounds the presence of the male Polynesian body within New Zealand. The male Polynesian was a visible sign of difference and helped to establish the dichotomy between conceptions of ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ among the New Zealand colonialists. This body thus became unacceptable to the settler culture for the anxiety it engendered. Kihara’s central figure, a well-known rugby player of Pacific Islander background, plays upon a history of fear that the appearance of this type of male body represents and foregrounds contemporary concerns about the role of “foreigners” in New Zealand rugby.
Yuki Kihara Bio
Yuki Kihara is firmly positioned as one of New Zealand, and the Pacific’s, most provocative and innovative artists. She regularly exhibits, performs, and lectures at institutions in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Her works may be found in numerous national and international collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, (Brisbane), the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Kihara’s works are currently exhibited at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, and will be participating in the upcoming Honolulu Biennial in March 2017 curated by Fumio Nanjo, Director of Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.
The Pacific Project
In a specially designed gallery for the exhibition of single channel video work, The Pacific Project showcases the most intriguing video work being produced throughout the Pacific Rim. Launched in 2015, the initiative has showcased the work of Chinese artists Huang Ran and Double Fly, and Cambodian Khvay Samnang, and the museum intends to program this space as an ongoing engagement. OCMA was an early exhibitor and collector of video art and The Pacific Project extends this commitment to video-based expression.
Founded in 1962, the Orange County Museum of Art is the premier visual arts organization in Orange County, Calif. Throughout its history, the museum has presented significant exhibitions of 20th– and 21st-century art and has assembled a world-class collection of contemporary art with a specific focus on the development of the visual arts within Southern California. The museum supports working artists from important emerging artistic centers, including a recent focus on art from the Pacific Rim. The museum offers free admission every Friday.
You can listen to the recent audio interview about ‘A Study of a Samoan Savage’ solo exhibition presented at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery Auckland NZ featuring Artist Yuki Kihara, Art critic Mark Amery and Te Uru curator Ioana Gordon Smith posted in the Circuit Artist Film and Media Aotearoa New Zealand:
Here is the links to the review of ‘A Study of a Samoan Savage’ solo exhibition presented at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Auckland NZ:
Shigeyuki (Yuki) Kihara discusses her work, which explores gender, history and representation in contemporary Pacific societies.
Yuki Kihara’s cinematic photographs ‘Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?’ 2013 find the artist adopting the persona of a fictional nineteenth-century Samoan woman, posed in historic and iconic sites in Samoa following the tragic Tsunami Galu Afi (2009) and Cyclone Evan (2012). They highlight the historical and cultural occupation of this landscape and the challenges faced by the isolated island nation as it struggles to assert an independent presence in the world. Kihara’s ongoing concern with performance is also apparent in her mesmerising video Siva in Motion 2012, in which the artist re-enacts the tsunami through taualuga — carefully choreographed and eloquent movements of the hands to narrate a story or event.
The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) is the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art’s flagship exhibition focussed on the work of Asia, the Pacific and Australia | 21 November 2015 – 10 April 2016
This video depicts a performance work Taualuga: The Last Dance, 2006 by Samoan/Japanese artist Shigeyuki Kihara. It was presented at Te Papa in February 2012 for the opening of art exhibition Collecting Contemporary and was first time it had been performed in New Zealand.
Storytelling, Pacific histories and politics are powerful drivers in the artwork of John Pule and Yuki Kihara. Follow the arresting narrative in Pule’s 18-part drawing Death of a God, which offers an account of anthropologist Dr Edwin Loeb’s early 20th-century fieldwork in Niue, and see Kihara’s clever critique of the pseudo-science of anthropometry – the measurement of the human individual – in her photographic series, A Study of a Samoan Savage.
- Date: Sat 12 Dec 2015 — Sun 15 May 2016
- Curated by Ron Brownson
- Location: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Ground level corridor
- Cost: Free entry
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