In the wake of the Auckland art scene’s recent upheaval, Tāmaki based gallery, satchiandsatchiandsatchi propose a new perspective on conversations around ownership, authenticity and reclamation that have been stones in the shoes of local artists this past year. Inspiration Group’s show entitled ‘I Don’t See Color’ does not rely on tactics of overt politicism or shock-value to get their point across, rather they imbue their works (a series of white criminal facial composites and saturated flags of Judah) with an almost rhetorical sense of humour and subversion to highlight manifestations of colonial violence and racism in Aotearoa and worldwide. Drawing on colonial ideals of purity, inspiration underpins their series with tactics of racial profiling, flipping the narrative on a history of violence by creating almost Frankenstein-esque hybrids of diverse white people, exaggerating and perverting coveted Eurocentric features. Framing these portraits are flags of Judah, calling to mind the hybridity, decolonial ideas and futurity cultivated between Māori and Rastafarianism. This sense of longing for a past and a future unresolved underpins the work of artist Selena Gerzic, whose series of paintings entitled ‘Euphoric Recall’ bring to mind a sense of hindsight, of pining; evoking a magic within the mundane. The title refers to the tendency to remember events in a positive light while paving over the painful memories accompanying the event. Euphoric recall can lead to relapse for drug addicts because, when people remember contexts incorrectly, it makes them more likely to return to those contexts. In one of the paintings, Gerzic illustrates Hotel Jugoslavia burning down, a once prolific landmark in her home country of Serbia reduced to ashes as a result of NATO bombings - with history canonising it as a symbol of the financial collapse of the former Yugoslavia. There is a sense that Gerzic is trying to reconcile a feeling of nostalgia for a bygone time, while also acknowledging the harsh reality that seeps into these rose tinted memories. While looking at her paintings of familiar nighttime landscapes; softly diffused and hazy (almost like being high or recalling a pleasant memory) - one can’t help but wonder how these panoramas would read in the unforgiving light of the day.
by Emanuel Sarmiento