Campbelltown Arts Centre presents Cinemania, Lisa Reihana’s first survey, showcasing three decades of video and photographic works and underscoring her international status as a pioneer of experimental video art and multimedia installations. Cinemania features Reihana’s most ambitious work to date, in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015—17, following its premiere at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017.
Almost ten years in the making, this work is a cinematic reimagining of the French scenic wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, 1804—1805, or The Voyages of Captain Cook, and includes scenes featuring weavers and dancers from Campbelltown’s Aboriginal community. Reihana has used twenty-first century audio-visual technology to animate the wallpaper with real and invented narratives.
This exhibition traces Reihana’s ongoing preoccupation with identity and costume, life and death, conflation of time, interest in fictional and non-fictional characters and the creation of compelling “otherworlds”. Her works unpack complex ideas around Maori and transpacific identity through mythology and interrogate the colonial gaze, the fabrication of history and the representation of First Nations peoples.
Revealing the spectrum of Reihana’s practice—from early experimental works in digital video such as Wog Features, 1990, and Native Portraits n.19897, 1998, to futuristic films, dystopian photography and immersive environments, such as Fantastic Egg, 2002, PELT, 2009, Tai Whetuki – House of Death Redux, 2015–16—Cinemania is an immersive exhibition, highlighting Lisa Reihana’s international status as a pioneer of experimental video art and multimedia installations.
The exhibition is curated by Michael Dagostino as a part of Sydney Festival. Lisa Reihana is an artist of Māori (Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tu) and British descent who has helped forge the development of time-based art in Aotearoa New Zealand. In 2017 she represented New Zealand in the 57th Venice Biennale with Lisa Reihana: Emissaries.
Further significant exhibitions include Tai Whetuki – House of Death Redux, The Walters Prize 2016, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, 2016; Suspended Histories, Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2013; Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years, Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, Canada, 2011; Unnerved The New Zealand Project, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane and National Gallery of Victoria, Australia, 2010; Close Encounters, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, USA, 2010; Global Feminisms, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA, 2007; and Paradise Now? Contemporary Art From the Pacific, Asia Society Museum, New York, USA, 2004.
Located on the edge of Sydney, Campbelltown Arts Centre (C-A-C) is in a unique position to forge collaborative exchanges between artists, disciplines and communities. These opportunities allow for new curatorial situations to occur and challenging streams of practice to be realised.
C-A-C is a national leader in the delivery of an expanding high quality community engaged contemporary artistic program. C-A-C is located on Tharawal land, with strong ties with Aboriginal Elders and community and is owned and managed by Campbelltown City Council.
Using the edge as a starting point, C-A-C creates a secure platform for communities and artists to take risks, challenge perceptions, confront issues, ask questions and create experiences through the commissioning of new works that invite collaboration, partnership, local/national/international dialogue, the collision of emerging and traditional techniques, and cross-disciplinary approaches.
This is achieved by placing contemporary artists at the forefront of the programming, through an open process of consultation with south-west Sydney communities and beyond to deliver a program that profiles contemporary visual arts, performance, dance, music, live art and emergent practices.