Lisa Reihana1964 - Sex trade, gift for Banks, dancing lovers, sextant lesson 2017
- From In pursuit of Venus - Infected 2017
In 1804, Joseph Dufour created Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, a 20-panel scenic wallpaper whose exotic subject matter celebrated the European public's fascination with the Pacific voyages of Captain Cook and French explorers such as de la Perouse.
Two hundred years after this wallpaper first featured in fashionable homes of the French elite, Lisa Reihana saw one the last remaining fully-intact copies of Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique on a visit to the National Gallery of Australia.
In her cinematic work, In pursuit of Venus [Infected], Reihana reanimates Dufours' wallpaper as a panoramic video - inverting the almost fantastical European imagining of the people and places Cook encountered on his expeditions to consider the experience of first contact through the lens of Pacific peoples.
The work includes encounters between Polynesians and Europeans which acknowledge the nuances and complexities of cultural identities and colonisation.
Stereotypes about other cultures and representations that developed during those times and since are challenged, and the gaze of imperialism is returned with a speculative twist that disrupts notions of beauty, authenticity, history and myth.
Ten years in production, involving a cast of 150 Pacific Islander artists, In pursuit of Venus [Infected] premiered at the 2017 Venice Biennale with Reihana representing New Zealand.
This digital print brings together imagery from several key scenes from In pursuit of Venus [Infected] in a still composite image.
© Lisa Reihana