One Day Sculpture  
             
     
 
 
 

Michael Parekowhai

(Nga-Ariki, Ngati Whakarongo. b. Porirua, New Zealand, 1968; lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand)
COMMISSIONED BY Litmus Research Initiative

       


      


      
Michael Parekowhai, Yes We Are, Wellington, 28 May 2009. Commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative,
Massey University for One Day Sculpture. Photos: Stephen Rowe
(click to enlarge)


Yes We Are

Thursday 28 May 2009, 05.00 – 22.00 
Multiple locations across Wellington

First location (5am): Interislander Marshalling Yard (view from SH1 driving south into city)

Final location (9pm): Mount Victoria lookout



Michael Parekowhai began thinking about the invitation to produce an artwork for the One Day Sculpture series by reflecting upon its inevitable conclusion. The artist’s ability, as one critic has suggested, to “expand the mind and seduce the eye” is brought to Wellington today through a public, but itinerant artwork which was conceived as the final work for this nationwide series.  

The work consists of a 4.6 metre-high neon sign, mounted on the back of a truck, which spells out the word ‘OPEN’. The sign will be installed temporarily at a series of locations across the city from 5am to 10pm on Thursday 28 May. The first location of the work is the Interislander Marshalling Yard. This location is not accessible to the public but can be viewed from the SH1 driving south into the city from 5am. From approximately 8am, the work will appear at a variety of undisclosed locations throughout the day, arriving at its final location, Mount Victoria at 9pm.

The sign is designed by the artist to be intentionally incongruous in Wellington – part-retro, part-Vegas sign – an intervention which will accrue different meanings in the dark, early morning light in a deserted ferry terminal seen from afar, to the frenzy of the commercial district in broad daylight. Parekowhai’s title refers explicitly to the convention of shops signs which substitute ‘Yes We Are’ for ‘Open’ – an assertive, optimistic and somewhat pre-emptive response to a potential enquiry.

Constructing his own bold, new ‘readymade’, Parekowhai proceeds to enact a series of ‘displacements’ whereby the sign becomes relocated across a variety of contexts during the day. By not allowing us to know a predetermined route for the work, but simply indicating where the work will start and finish, the artist coaxes us to think about the terms of which we encounter a work of art. What does it mean to encounter this sign unexpectedly, how open are we to such new encounters and how does our understanding of this sign operate if we see it in a number of locations? Parekowhai is particularly interested in the potentiality of the term ‘open’ and what such a disembodied sign might indicate about the future of public art in an open field.  Conceived as a conclusive work, Parekowhai’s ‘Yes We Are’ indicates that this might be the end of the beginning for public sculpture in New Zealand, rather than the last word.

Michael Parekowhai, Yes We Are is commissioned by Litmus Research Initiative, Massey University. Realised with generous funding support from the Wellington City Council Public Art Fund, Creative New Zealand, Massey University Foundation and Massey University College of Creative Arts.

1.Justin Paton, ‘Special Agent: Michael Parekowhai's Generous Duplicity’, Art New Zealand, Issue 103, Winter 2002


bIOGRAPHY


Michael Parekowhai, The Horn of Africa, 2006


Michael Parekowhai's ONE DAY SCULPTURE project will take place in Wellington May 2009.


Michael Parekowhai uses satire in his works to address political and social issues. His practice engages with a range of European artists and movements, from Marcel Duchamp to Minimalism and Pop, using them as a frame in which to consider the place of Maori culture within New Zealand's dominant pakeha (non-indigenous) society. Parekowhai is best known for striking, large-scale sculptural works that have a refined and seductive presence. His work often appropriates the forms of familiar things, such as toys and animals, placing them in intriguing relationships that purposely invite a wide variety of interpretations relevant to the cultural context of New Zealand and beyond. His recent commission for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, The Big O.E., illustrates this artist's particular interest in exploring the nature and definition of Pakeha culture.


Selected solo exhibitions include The Big O.E., Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, (2006), Michael Parekowhai: Consolation of philosophy Piko nei te matenga, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth (2004) and the acclaimed touring exhibition Patriot: Ten Guitars, Artspace, Auckland (1999). Selected group exhibitions include The 5th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2006), High Tide: currents in contemporary New Zealand & Australian Art, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw (2006), Remember New Zealand, Sao Paulo Biennale (2004), The 13th Sydney Biennale (2002) and Flight Patterns, MOCA The Geffen Contemporary, Los Angles (2000)


Michael Parekowhai was born in Porirua in 1968 and is of Nga-Ariki, Ngati Whakarongo and European decent. Parekowhai holds a masters degree from the University of Auckland School of Fine Arts and was awarded an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2001. He currently lives in Auckland.

 
 
 

LIZ ALLAN

 

LARA ALMARCEGUI

 

BILLY APPLE

 

NICK AUSTIN

 

DOUGLAS BAGNALL

 

BIK VAN DER POL

 

BEKAH CARRAN

 

KAH BEE CHOW

 

THOMAS HIRSCHHORN

 

AMY HOWDEN-CHAPMAN

 

ADAM HYDE

 

MADDIE LEACH

 

JAMES LUNA

 

HEATHER AND IVAN MORISON

 

KATE NEWBY

 

ROMAN ONDÁK

 

MICHAEL PAREKOWHAI

 

PAOLA PIVI

 

SANTIAGO SIERRA

 

SUPERFLEX

 

JAVIER TELLEZ

 

RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA

 

ZOË WALKER AND NEIL BROMWICH

 

BEDWYR WILLIAMS