Between the Gift and its Reprisal
Artspace Aotearoa is pleased to present Between the Gift and its Reprisal, our 2022 edition of the new artists show. This iteration is a curatorial project led by Tyson Campbell and brings together three artists from the Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland Region. Spanning sculpture, photography, and installation, emerging artists Synthia Bahati, Te Ara Minhinnick, and Susu respond to expanded ideations on what a gift could be.
Between the Gift and its Reprisal, as an exhibition and as a concept, emerged from Campbell’s ongoing considerations around exchange and reciprocity and departs from Derrida’s conception of the gift that he explores in the seminal 1991 book Counterfeit Money as a way of springboarding creative responses from the artists.
Gifts, as a process of exchange, facilitate a multi-faceted symbolic and material outcome, sometimes including indebtedness and the giving away, or even destruction, of valuable resources. Once a gift is given, the recipient, or in Derrida’s terms, the ‘donee’, is made responsible for a counter-gift, which may be as simple as acknowledging the gift-giver’s generosity.
The artists present a combination of new commissions and further explorations of existing practice. Here, the gift becomes a disruptive invitation to which the artists have responded in dynamic and varying ways. By highlighting the economy of exchange that shapes their daily realities, aspirations, and political imaginaries, the action of gift-gifting—whether material or experiential— opens up questions of comfort, relationship building, liberation, and memory.
In addition, Campbell has commissioned Melbourne-based writer Julia Lomas to produce a new essay which will be launched online and made available in the gallery throughout the exhibition.
The new artists exhibition is a long-standing pillar in Artspace Aotearoa’s programme and is central to the organisation's kaupapa in providing a platform for emergent practitioners from Aotearoa.