The South Pacific’s heritage reimagined in new video installation at Auckland Art Gallery

Lisa Reihana, in Pursuit of Venus [inf ected] 2015, multi-channel video (still), Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of Auckland Art Words by Larissa Jenkins.   Last week saw the world premiere of a new multi-channel video installation called In Pursuit of Venus [infected] at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.   The 32-minute-long production was created by New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana over six years, it animates a 19th-century scenic wallpaper, Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, which showed an idealised European view of the South Pacific and its people. Rather than replicate the inaccurate, romanticised view of the 1800s, Reihana imagines encounters that may have taken place between different cultures at the time.   The film transports viewers to an imagined, precolonial world, inhabited by the life-size characters from Captain Cook’s voyages and encounters. It is filled with dance, music and cultural ceremonies, populated by people drawn from across the Pacific.   Using some of the latest in film and editing technology, including the use of green-screen techniques, this unique installation comes to life, offering viewers a full-sensory experience that won’t easily be forgotten.   To add to these already astounding features, the installation will also be the largest video work the Gallery has ever exhibited, measuring 25 metres long and four metres high.   Admission to this remarkable piece of art is free until August 30th, enabling anyone and everyone to bask in the ambience of this historically creative presentation.   Visit Auckland Art Gallery online here for more information.