Sam Foley: Moving image paintings

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Tilting at the heart of the beast, 2012 (Berlin)

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Te Tahi Bay 2015

I first saw Sam Foley’s Berlin street scene at Pah Homestead in Auckland in 2012 where it won a  Wallace Art Award. This, along with images of Titahi Bay and other familiar places are included in this fine exhibition at Pataka. The combination of oil painting, projection and sound really works in this space. I must however point out that my partner Jay Hollows is Gallery Supervisor and helped Sam with the technical set up. So I have a bias, but this work is still really stunning.

 

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James Harcourt – Climate Change Refugees, Pātaka Art Gallery & Museum

Today I chanced upon a performance in the spine (the central walk through area) of Pātaka Art Gallery & Museum in Porirua. It was part of James Harcourt’s exhibition in the Toi Gallery, with a climate change theme. Dancers and drummers wearing masks performed a choreographed routine. The masks are the feature of the exhibition, and are painted on nikau palm. They really look quite brilliant. They represent climate change refugees, human and animal, to ask ‘where are we going?’ Well worth a visit, and check out the Whitireia Grad exhibition and the Wallace Art Awards as well as the social history ‘Made in Porirua’ while you’re at it.

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Collectors II: Walter Cook – ceramics collector Wellington

I knew nothing about this Walter Cook collector whose pieces are on display at Te Papa on level 6. He is a librarian who started a collection of pottery and ceramics inspired by his reading of William Morris of the Arts & Crafts movement. Morris’ most famous line:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
I like the fact that Te Papa has featured the collector (a short video with him talking about the collection is included). The only thing that alarmed me somewhat was that some of these pieces looked like things my Mum had in her house which we threw out after she died – I hope they weren’t Liberty & Co or Royal Doulton!

Collectors I- Contraception & Carmen

Dame Margaret Sparrow has been a doctor for many years with Family Planning, and in her role as educator has collected different kinds of contraception over time. That collection is on display at Te Papa Museum in Wellington in the Illot Room on the fourth floor at present. Very interesting to see the changes over time in the presentation of condoms, in the devices used on women (I cringed looking at some of them) and the advice the public has written and displayed for their younger selves. A nice short video of Dame Margaret Sparrow talking about her work too. Shame it’s a small space tucked away, but I felt there was some nice synchronicity in having a display of Carmen’s head dresses outside, with her comment that she was ‘trisexual’ because she’d try anything. Carmen was a legendary entertainer who ran two very successful bars (or ‘coffee houses’) in Wellington. She died in Sydney, but left chosen materials to Te Papa.

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Ai Weiwei Pataka Art Gallery and Museum

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been kept under house arrest and had his passport taken away in his homeland of China but he’s a social media genius who tweets like it’s poetry and knows how to engage people to work with him on projects from recording the identities of children who died in shoddily built schools during earthquakes to his latest project – challenging the Lego Corporation’s refusal to sell him their product because his work is ‘political’.

Check out this great film about him ‘Ai Weiwei Never Sorry’: http://www.aiweiweineversorry.com/

So now Pataka Art Gallery and Museum at Porirua is getting involved by providing a BMW in the spine of the building into which you can put your old lego (through the sunroof) to contribute to Ai Weiwei’s next project. Hooray!!!

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ARTIST AS ARCHIVIST I: Cafe Little Boy 2002 by Jean-Luc Vilmouth at Centre Pompidou, Paris.

‘”Cafe Little Boy” has its origins in the story of the Fukoromachi primary school in Hiroshima, destroyed by the atomic bomb nicknamed “Little Boy”Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (1) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (2) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (3) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (4) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (5) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (6) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (7) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (8) Paris Centre Pompidou Cafe Little Boy  (9). Only one wall remained standing, on which the survivors left messages for family and friends. This evolving installation invites visitors to write on the walls in chalk in response to that tragic event, further elaborating the collective memory’. (information on wall outside room). I liked the fact only 5 people were permitted in the room at any time.

Le Giornate del Cinema Muto – Pordenone Silent Film Festival Italy

And what of the book launch itself? I had never been to the Silent Film Festival before. I loved it, particularly the silent film musicians. They’re so clever and have often not seen a film before they accompany it. The Film Festival holds Masterclass for two young musicians every year to learn about silent film accompaniment from the musicians who play for the festival. The book launch was fun and some pretty impressive characters came along including Neil Brand and John Sweeney (musicians), Kevin Brownlow the film historian and film maker, Meg Labrum from National Film and Sound Archive, Elaine Burrows, now retired from the British Film Archive, and it was introduced by Paolo Cherchi-Usai.

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And here’s me with the book at the FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives) office in Brussels and at the film festival with my publisher John Libbey and silent film pianists (and geniuses) Neil Brand and John Sweeney.

Book launch Emma at FIAF Brussels with book Booklaunch Pordenone

Paris – Cinematheque Francaise

The film archive which was founded first in the world by Henri Langlois. It’s legendary, and a Scorcese exhibition is on when I visit. Needless to say I’m extremely excited. The Library and Bookshop are part of main building as well as a Museum space.

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The Scorcese exhibition was absolutely packed with people. Very impressive. It was incredible to see how people were fascinated by cinema in Paris. The Sunday afternoon commercial cinema I passed had a queue running down the road!

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Brussels – Cinematheque Royale

The Cinematheque Royale at Brussels in Belgium has always had a serious focus on silent cinema and regularly plays films with live accompaniment. The Wunderkammer exhibition of early cinematography at the Cinematek exhibition space is great.

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In Brussels everything is written in both Dutch and French to serve the two main communities. Flemish is spoken too of course. This is one of the older film archives, founded in 1938 and is government funded. The archive also screens films for various other venues and for festivals.