4 Feb 2018

Art, Life, Music - Lisa Reihana

From Art, Life, Music, 2:00 pm on 4 February 2018

"Music, art, our beautiful country... and driving. What could be better? Join me on a road trip of New Zealand, visiting some of our finest visual artists at home in their studios. They’ll share their favourite music with us, and I’m hoping to get to the bottom of the mystery of their art, what part music plays in it, and what makes them tick" - Charlotte Wilson.

Lisa Reihana at home

Lisa Reihana at home Photo: RNZ/Charlotte Wilson

We begin in Auckland with Lisa Reihana, our Venice Biennale artist 2017 who amazed the world with her video work In Pursuit of Venus [Infected], which animated figures and vignettes of the famous 19th century wallpaper based on Captain Cook’s voyage in the Endeavour to observe the 1770 Transit of Venus.

In Pursuit of Venus was exhibited around the country before travelling in its final version to Venice -  all 25 metres, 3.168 trillion pixels and 25 frames a second -  and has been chosen for the 250th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Society which originally gave James Cook and Joseph Banks the commission.

Ten years in the making and currently showing at the Sydney Festival, the work is the culmination of a video career that began in the 1990s as one of the ‘Young Guns’ at the forefront of the Maori avant garde.

Lisa Reihana: In Pursuit of Venus [infected] (still) 2015-2017

Lisa Reihana: In Pursuit of Venus [infected] (still) 2015-2017 Photo: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2014

Since then Reihana’s career has traversed photography, installation, sculpture, design, text and performance, with an abiding focus on Māori and Pacific representation as well as bicultural, post-colonial and gender issues.

Born and bred in Auckland, she has degrees from ELAM and Unitec, and her awards include the Walters Prize 2016 and, most recently, being made a Member of the New Zealand order of Merit in the New Year’s Honours.

Lisa Reihana unwrapping still from In Pursuit of Venus [Infected]

Lisa Reihana unwrapping still from In Pursuit of Venus [Infected] Photo: RNZ/Charlotte Wilson

Charlotte visits Lisa at her home in Freeman’s Bay where, having recently got back from Venice, and her studio being empty, she unwraps one of the stills of In Pursuit of Venus (shown in the gallery below).

They talk about her background, her Auckland, her great love of kiwi music, being a tech geek and her drive to do what she does – directing a team of hundreds of cast, crew, advisors and sponsors who include musician James Pinker, her partner, Sam Tozer, Angus McNaughton and Vivienne Stone.

Plus, of course, the idea that made her the most celebrated artist in the whole of Venice.

Music Details:

SOLA ROSA: Turn Around

FETUS PRODUCTIONS: What’s Going On

WHIRIMAKO BLACK: He Taonga

EMMA PAKI: Sweet Scented Desire

ALASTAIR RIDDELL: Out on the Street

Related stories:

  • Lisa Reihana in Venice
  • Lisa Reihana's grand entrance at Venice
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