10 November – 22 November 2016

Potentially Yours, The Coming Community

All images (+5)

Newell Harry
Louise Menzies
Dan Nash
Fatima Al Qadiri & Khalid Al Gharaballi
Mika Rottenberg
Sorawit Songsataya
Martine Syms
Curated by Tendai John Mutambu

Contemporary capitalism [coerces] us all to ‘live up to our potential’ by
getting with the program, by playing the game, by giving it everything.

– Sven Lütticken, 2014 [1]

Presented in the form of a sign-off to an open letter; a missive
whose subject remains undefined, the title of this exhibition
imagines the promise of alternative approaches to potential.
In his book The Coming Community, the philosopher Giorgio
Agamben presents an assemblage of essays on a variety of themes,
including potentiality. And much like Agamben’s eponymous text,
this exhibition brings together a range of ideas that collectively
become at once a critical (re-)reading, a thought-experiment and
a material provocation, which find expression through a variety of
aesthetic modes.
Here political ecologies, inhuman subjectivities, the archive,
racialised temporalities and the chronopolitics of labour and
leisure coalesce around the central premise of asserting new
understandings of potential. While certain works focus on the
potency of not-doing, others deploy the strategy of ‘potent
impotence
’ to occupy zones of indeterminacy; spaces located
between refusal and acquiescence. In its defiant resistance to the
neoliberal rhetoric of potential-as-self-optimisation – one which
poses a threat to our critical imagination – Potentially Yours, The
Coming Community
proposes a kinship between the ‘not-yet-here’[2]
of unformed communities and collective material histories as the
potential of an unfolding present.

Martine Syms (LA, United States) uses video and performance to examine representations of Blackness and its relationship to American situation comedy, Black vernacular, feminist movements and radical traditions. Her artwork has been exhibited and screened extensively, including presentations at the New Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, MCA Chicago, Green Gallery, Gene Siskel Film Centre, and White Flag Projects. She has lectured at Yale University, SXSW, California Institute of the Arts, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University, and MoMA PS1, among other venues. Syms’ recently presented exhibitions include Borrowed Lady, SFU Galleries, Vancouver; Fact and Trouble, ICA London; Vertical Elevated Oblique, Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York. From 2007-2011 she was the co-director of the Chicago artistrun project space Golden Age, and she currently runs Dominica Publishing: an imprint dedicated to exploring blackness in visual culture. She is the author of Implications and Distinctions: Format, Content and Context in Contemporary Race Film (2011).

Louise Menzies (Auckland, NZ) typically offers objects, images and situations that explore past and present through attention to the way they are already represented. Her cross-media practice has incorporated film and print into performances and installations. Recent solo exhibitions include: Spiritual Midwifery, Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland (2016), and Time to think like a mountain, Contemporary Art Galleries, University of Connecticut (2014). Recent group exhibitions and screenings include: This is not filmmaking: Artists work for cinema, City Gallery, Wellington (2016), Freedom Farmers, Auckland Art Gallery (2014), and Everybody knows this is nowhere, castillo/corrales, Paris (2013). In 2016 Menzies was artist in residence at the McCahon House, Auckland, following residencies in the U.S., Australia and Mexico.

Sorawit Songsataya lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau. He graduated with an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts in 2014. Recent exhibitions include; A bone, a flesh, a daddy’s nest with Bronte Perry, RM Gallery; The nonliving agent, Te Tuhi; Midnight, Window gallery; Cobalt Sun, Te Uru window space; Piti Montessori, Blue Oyster Art Project Space; Let The Cobbler Stick To His Last, Brooklyn, New York; Unstuck in Time, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts; Campaign Furniture, Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Dan Nash is an Auckland based artist who graduated with an an MFA from Auckland University in 2014. His work explores desires for personal and collective escape and bodily and cultural distortion. The grotesque materiality of his sculpture has a strong affinity with the writing of American philosopher Alphonso Lingis and his interest in sensuality and the phenomenology of the fluid. Recent exhibitions include New Graduate Works, The Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland; touch light silk screen with Juliet Carpenter, Gloria Knight; trustno123456, Projectspace B431.

Newell Harry is a Sydney-based artist of Cape Coloured (South African) and French Mauritian heritage who works in a range of media, including sculpture, installation, photography, and drawing. His work and interests touch on diverse fields, from language, anthropology, religion and cargo cults, to the ongoing social impacts of economic imperialism and globalisation. Key to his work are concerns rooted contextually within an Asia-Pacific discourse. Notions of value, currency, and modes of exchange are important themes in Harry’s work, stemming from the artist’s keen interest in tribal economies of Oceania and the wider South Pacific. Harry’s exhibitions of note include All the World’s Futures , Venice Biennale 2015, 12th international Istanbul Biennial and 17th Biennale of Sydney. His work has been widely exhibited including in Australia, Amsterdam, USA, South Africa, New Zealand France and Korea.

Khalid al Gharaballi is a New York–based Kuwaiti stylist and artist. His work has been published in Vogue Homme Japan, V, Tokion, GQ and A magazine. Khalid is also a contributor to Bidoun and DIS Magazine. He has performed at Bidoun’s Art Park at Art Dubai.

Fatima Al Qadiri is a New York–based Kuwaiti artist, performer, and musician. Through her work in video, photography, and performance, she explores gender stereotypes and the impact of consumerism on contemporary Kuwaiti society. Selected group exhibitions include Starship Counterforce, Aqua Art Miami, Art Basel, Miami, 2008; Goth Gulf Visual Vortex GGVV, Sultan Gallery, Kuwait, 2009; Mahma Kan Althaman (“Whatever The Price”), Sultan Gallery, Kuwait, 2010; MOVE!, MoMA PS1, New York, 2010; Gwangju Design Biennale, South Korea, 2011; Global Art Forum, Art Dubai, Mathaf: Arab Museu of Modern Art, Doha, 2012; Mendeel Um A7mad (NxIxSxM), CAP, Kuwait, 2012; and Surrender, Fourth Edition, Marrakech Biennale, 2012.

Mika Rottenberg uses video installation to probe contemporary formations of labour, the feminisation of globalisation, and the production of value. Forthcoming exhibitions include Mika Rottenberg, Bass Museum of Art, Miami. Mika Rottenberg, Galerie Laurent Godin, Paris, France, 2016; Mika Rottenberg, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, 2016; NoNoseKnows, Shishang Art Musuem, Beijing, China, 2015; Mika Rottenberg, Jupiter Artland Foundation, Edinburgh, UK, 2015.