Glenn Otto, <em>An honest means to a dishonest living</em>, 2017, acrylic on wall, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sorawit Songsataya, <em>Sad</em>, 2017, 3D printed plastic, log, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sorawit Songsataya, <em>Sad</em>, 2017, 3D printed plastic, log, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sorawit Songsataya, <em>Sad</em>, 2017, 3D printed plastic, log, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sorawit Songsataya, <em>Good Kissers</em>, 2017, 3D printed plastic, wool covered custom stand, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sorawit Songsataya, <em>Good Kissers</em> (detail), 2017, 3D printed plastic, wool covered custom stand, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Installation view, <em>Acting Out</em>, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sorawit Songsataya, detail of <em>Hugging</em>, 2017, 3D printed plastic, acrylic, rope, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Installation view, <em>Acting Out</em>, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun MatthewsSarah Munro, <em>Surface Detail – Grey Scale</em>, 2012, automotive paint over custom made fibreglass support. Courtesy of Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews VALIE EXPORT, <em>Breath Text: Love Poem</em>(still), 1970–73, single channel video, 2 minutes 23 seconds, Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi VALIE EXPORT, still from <em>Touch Cinema</em> (still), 1968, single channel video, 1 minute 8 seconds, Courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi Installation view, <em>Acting Out</em>, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun MatthewsSarah Munro, <em>Surface Detail – Gloss Red</em>, 2012, automotive paint over custom made fibreglass support. Courtesy of Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sarah Munro, <em>Surface Detail – Gloss Red</em>, 2012, automotive paint over custom made fibreglass support. Courtesy of Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sarah Munro, <em>Surface Detail – Gloss Red</em>, 2012, automotive paint over custom made fibreglass support. Courtesy of Page Blackie Gallery, Wellington, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Signe Rose, <em>Bondage Jewel</em> 2016 and <em>Bondage Egg</em> 2015, gold leaf, leather, chain, jewellery findings. Courtesy of the artist, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Signe Rose, <em>Bondage Jewel</em> 2016 and <em>Bondage Egg</em> 2015, gold leaf, leather, chain, jewellery findings. Courtesy of the artist, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Signe Rose, <em>Bondage Egg</em> (detail), 2015, gold leaf, leather, chain, jewellery findings. Courtesy of the artist, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Signe Rose, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Pipilotti Rist, <em>Pickleporno</em>, 1992, single-channel video, 12min 0 sec, Courtesy of videoart.ch, Zofingen, Switzerland, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Pipilotti Rist, <em>Pickleporno</em>, 1992, single-channel video, 12min 0 sec, Courtesy of videoart.ch, Zofingen, Switzerland, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Signe Rose, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Signe Rose, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Signe Rose, <em>Belladonna</em> (detail), 2017, gold leaf, boiled leather, chain, crystal beads, jewellery findings. Courtesy of the artist, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Installation view of Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em>, 1971-72, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Installation view of Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em>, 1971-72, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Installation view of Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em>, 1971-72, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em> (still), 1971-72, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em> (still), 1971-72, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi Installation view of Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em>, 1971-72, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em> (performance still), 1972 mixed media performance, Old Māori Hall and Mercury Theatre, Auckland, 1972, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi Jack Body, <em>Sexus</em> (performance still), 1972 mixed media performance, Old Māori Hall and Mercury Theatre, Auckland, 1972, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi Edward Bullmore, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Edward Bullmore, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Edward Bullmore, <em>Astroform Descending</em>, 1967, painted canvas on fibreglass, wood, metal, Collection of Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, Gift of Jacqueline Anne Bullmore, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi Edward Bullmore, <em>Astroform 12</em>, c.1974, mixed media, canvas, fibreglass construction, Collection of Tauranga Art Gallery Toi Tauranga, Gift of Jacqueline Anne Bullmore, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi Edward Bullmore, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sarah Lucas, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sarah Lucas, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sarah Lucas, <em>NUD CYCLADIC 1</em>, 2009, tights, fluff, wire, concrete blocks, MDF, Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu. Purchase enabled by a gift from Andrew and Jenny Smith, made in response to the generosity of Sarah Lucas, Sadie Coles, London and Two Rooms, Auckland to the people of Christchurch on the occasion of the Canterbury Earthquake, February 2011, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sarah Lucas, <em>Chicken knickers</em>, 2017, PVC-free wallpaper print, Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London, on view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews Sarah Lucas, installation view in <em>Acting Out</em> at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, photo: Shaun Matthews

 

Acting Out
Jack Body/John Miller, Edward Bullmore, VALIE EXPORT, Sarah Lucas, Sarah Munro, Glenn Otto, Pipilotti Rist, Signe Rose, Sorawit Songsataya

Curated by Stephen Cleland
6 May – 9 July, 2017

What then are the stereotypical characteristics of that typical New Zealander? He belongs to a ‘passionless society’ where people are reticent, where sensuality is suspect, where men do not cry … Much of New Zealand music is characterised by an emotional restraint that borders on inhibition.
–Jack Body

Acting Out surveys a selection of New Zealand and international artists who address the physicality of the body. The exhibition presents art works produced over the past four decades that in various ways exhibit relations between bodies and forms. Situating the body as both the subject and means of producing their work, these practitioners investigate the ongoing entanglement of the body with the making of art. Acting Out offers a range of gendered perspectives, bringing to the fore artists who express the raw physicality of sex with varying degrees of candour.

Acting Out’s starting point is the liberal context of the 1960s and 1970s, when conservative attitudes towards sexuality were questioned and overturned. In New Zealand, as elsewhere, these shifting attitudes towards the body began to appear in performance-based art practices which at times mixed with other live disciplines. Two such historic performance events are referenced and partially reconstructed here. Both were instigated by the late composer Jack Body, a key figure at Victoria University’s school of music. Known for his energetic collaborations, the first of these was initiated in 1972 when Body invited choreographer Jennifer Shennan to work with him to produce Sexus, an erotic and gritty stage-performance presented at the Maori Community Centre and Auckland’s Mercury Theatre as part of that year’s University Arts Festival. This brought together six scantily clad dancers, a filmic projection and Body’s own sonic score. This little-known work was fortunately documented by photographer John Miller who captured, in a series of still photographs, the performance’s dyadic structure, where dancers were paired to represent a spectrum of bodily encounters—male/male, male/female, female/female. Their movements were enacted in conjunction with the projected image of an ambiguously gendered man, who repeatedly performed a series of gestures and actions that confused the coded behaviour of conventional masculinity.

Sexus is a vital precursor to the second event documented here. This is an installation of paintings by Edward Bullmore that originally formed part of the six-hour suite of simultaneous sound environments and live activities that inaugurated Body’s influential Sonic Circus, a multimedia festival bringing together composers, musicians and artists staged at Victoria University in 1974. Body invited Bullmore to suspend a group of his highly sexualised shaped canvases within his ‘Dream Room’ to set the scene for Body’s erotically charged soundtrack and works by fellow composers Annea Lockwood and John Cousins. Bullmore’s paintings were not made for this purpose, but their intense physical qualities made them tangible surrogates for the experiential states the composers sought to arouse in their listeners.

Acting Out brings Body’s Sexus and a selection of Bullmore’s Astroforms into focus, recalling their previous iterations at Victoria and reconceiving them in a gallery context. Bullmore’s and Body’s sexual yet ambiguous forms are echoed and extended in paintings and sculptures by Sarah Lucas, Sarah Munro, Glenn Otto, Signe Rose and Sorawit Songsataya. These artists variously treat surfaces as ‘skin’ and marks as gestures, updating and resignifying the body as a material site of gendered, sexual, social and political investment. Together with this treatment of the body-as-sculpture, the show features image-based works by VALIE EXPORT, Pipilotti Rist and Sarah Lucas. The thread that links these works is a self-reflexive and sometimes humourous negotiation of the charged terrain of the gendered and sexual body, the orifices and protrubences of which invite attention and connection, even as they challenge propriety and complicate social convention.

Acting Out is accompanied by a public programme that includes curatorial insights, artist talks and sonic performances. Details to follow soon on our public programme page.