(b. Valencia, Venezuela, 1969; lives and works in New York)
COMMISSIONED BY Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Javier Tellez, Intermission, Opunake, Taranaki, 22 March 2009. Commissioned by Govett-Brewster Art Gallery for One Day Sculpture. Photos: #3-6 Stephen Rowe, all others courtesy the artist and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
(click to enlarge)
Sunday 22 March 2009, 11am - 2pm
Everybody's Theatre, 72 Tasman Street, Opunake, Taranaki
> Click here for a map
> Find John DiStefano's commissioned critical response here
A live lion prowled the stalls of a 1920s movie theatre during a continuous screening of MGM’s famous opening credits. The context, a windswept New Zealand coastal town on an autumn Sunday afternoon. Gwelfa Burgess, the ‘oldest working usherette in New Zealand’, lead the audience to experience the thrill of seeing celluloid dreams come to life.
Intermission is an homage to cinema as a fading medium. It renders nostalgia for the golden years, long gone, of many Sundays spent at the ‘talking pictures’. With the arrival of home video and the resulting decrease of audience numbers, movie theatres such as Everybody’s Theatre risked closure. In Taranaki, thanks to the initiative of octogenarian projectionists, ‘the oldest usherette in NZ’ and many cinema enthusiasts some of these establishments have been kept alive.
As in previous works such as One Flew over the Void (2005), Javier Téllez creates a ‘living sculpture’ that relies on unorthodox collaborations of participants and the public. Intermission engenders a sense of wonder and the carnivalesque whilst addressing a sense of place and its cinematic history.
Commissioned by Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Realised with generous funding support from SEACEX. Also supported by Creative New Zealand and New Plymouth District Council. Special thanks to Everybody's Theatre. The Govett-Brewster acknowledges the appearance of the lions Abdullah and Tshaka from Zion Wildlife Gardens and the assistance of their handlers.
Dalu Mcnube from Zion Wildlife Gardens was the lead lion handler for the One Day Sculpture project Intermission by Javier Tellez. He was tragically killed in an accident on 27 May 2009.
The artist, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and One Day Sculpture are all deeply saddened by Dalu’s tragic death.
Everyone involved with the project found Dalu to be a very special and charismatic man who was passionate about the animals he worked with and Zion’s breeding programme. His professional assistance, commanding presence and willing participation in the Opunake event made it a very special experience, one now tinged with sadness.
With sincere condolences and commiserations, our hearts go out to Dalu’s family and all of his colleagues at Zion.
The Dalu Mncube Family Trust has been established as a way for people to express their respect and love in a way that will truly make a difference. Established in Dalu’s name, any donated monies will be held in trust for the sole benefit of Dalu’s children, giving them a solid foundation for their future:
The Dalu Mncube Family Trust
Account Name: Henderson Reeves Connell Rishworth Trust Account
Account: 03 0497 028 6461 02
Reference: Dalu Family Trust
This account is for donations towards the cost of taking Dalu back to his homeland:
Zimbabwe Association of New Zealand
Bank: National Bank
Account: 0601010776318 – 00
Reference: Dalu Fund
Javier Tellez, One Flew Over the Void (Bala perdida), inSite 05. Photo: Alfredo De Stefano, courtesy inSite 05
The work of Venezuelan artist Javier Tellez reflects a sustained interest in bringing peripheral communities and invisible situations to the fore of contemporary art. His work deals with institutional dynamics, disabilities and mental illness as
marginalising conditions, and borderline collective and individual behaviours. His projects have often involved working in collaboration with people experiencing mental illness. His parents both being psychiatrists, Téllez has recurrently examined themes of psychiatric character bringing an autobiographical element to his work. Seeking to address issues and conflicts between normalcy and pathology, his work exposes these in a non-didactic way. Both his parents being psychiatrists, Tellez has recurrently examined themes of psychiatric character bringing an autobiographical element to his work.
His practice has developed mostly within the video and installation tradition, although it contains elements of performance and sculpture as well. Being research based and place specific, Tellez's projects often dwell into the social and political histories of the locations where they develop.
in New York since 1993, Tellez has exhibited widely internationally and
his work has been included in important exhibitions of major
institutions including the InSite 05, Queens Museum of Art, P.S.1 MoMA,
ZKM, Centro Cultural Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, as well as
biennales such as Moscow Biennale, Kwangju Biennale, Venice Biennale,
Yokohama Triennale, Biennale of Sydney and Manifesta.