Lisa Reihana: in Pursuit of Venus [infected]

Thursday 28 February — Friday 5 April 2019

Aotearoa New Zealand-born and Auckland-based, Lisa Reihana is a multidisciplinary Māori (Ngapuhi, Ngati Hine, Ngai Tu) artist whose practice examines the way history is represented. The subjects of Reihana’s portraits inhabit a reinterpreted world which is at once both familiar yet different, and where past, present and future are mutable.

In 2017, Reihana represented Aotearoa New Zealand in the Venice Biennale with the panoramic video in Pursuit of Venus [infected], a moving image interpretation of Les Sauvages De La Mer Pacifique (1804), a sophisticated French twenty-panel scenic wallpaper depicting the Pacific voyages undertaken by Captain Cook, de Bougainville and de la Perouse. Reihana’s reading of this history is darker and more nuanced, making narratives visible which were previously absent. Amongst the images of South Seas idylls portrayed in the original wallpaper, the imperial gaze is turned back on itself by including cultural practices and first-contact narratives to reveal sexual exploitation and gender fluidity. in Pursuit of Venus [infected] at the Samstag Museum coincides with the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to the South Pacific and Australia to observe the transit of Venus from the island of Tahiti on 3 June, 1769.


A Samstag Museum of Art Adelaide//International exhibition presented for the 2019 Adelaide Festival.