54. Biennale – Padiglione neozelandese

Venezia - 01/06/2011 : 27/11/2011

Il progetto On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer di Michael Parekowhai rappresenterà la Nuova Zelanda alla Biennale di Venezia.

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New Zealand's 2011 exhibition

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer, a sculptural installation by Michael Parekowhai, will be exhibited at the 54th Venice Biennale in the Palazzo Loredan dell'Ambasciatore on the Grand Canal.

The work includes one intricately-carved Steinway concert grand piano and two concert grands fabricated in bronze supporting two cast bronze bulls. On one piano a full-size bull rests on the closed lid with its massive body suggesting the folding forms of landscape

On the other piano the bull is standing firm offering an eye-to-eye challenge for anyone prepared to take a seat at the keyboard. The installation will also feature a figure from the Kapa Haka series (Officer Taumaha) and two small bronze olive tree saplings (Constitution Hill).

The titles of the works that make up the installation are: He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river (the carved piano), A Peak in Darien (the resting bull and piano), and Chapman’s Homer (the standing bull and piano). He Korero Purakau mo Te Awanui o Te Motu Story of a New Zealand River will be played throughout the exhibition with a programme of special performances planned. If the sculptures are a source of visual surprise for visitors, it is the music that will greet them when they arrive.

Michael Parekowhai sums up: “While the objects in On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer are important, the real meaning of the work will come through the music. Just as my work Ten Guitars was not about the instruments themselves but about the way they brought people together, performance is central to understanding On first looking into Chapman’s Homer because music fills a space like no object can.”

The overall title for the project is based on the poem ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ by the nineteenth-century English Romantic poet John Keats. In this Keats describes a Spanish adventurer climbing to the top of a hill in what is now Panama and looking out over the Pacific to survey its potential riches for the first time.