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Artist updates work for large-scale survey exhibition

12 May 2016

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .

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Works made over the last twelve years by renowned Avondale artist, Janet Lilo, are being updated and made anew for the artist’s first solo survey exhibition Status Update, opening 28 May at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Titirangi.

Te Uru are canvassing Lilo’s concerns and approaches in the survey exhibition Janet Lilo: Status Update. A phrase cribbed from Facebook, ‘Status Update’ refers to Lilo’s well-known interest in social media as raw material, a self-aware use of a survey exhibition as validation — and indeed elevation — of an artist’s practice, as well as a description of how Lilo has treated the works in the exhibition.

Indeed, Janet Lilo: Status Update is not a traditional survey. Rather than simply re-showing past works, Janet has borrowed concepts, processes and technologies from previous works to create entirely new works that reflect back on and refine her concerns to date.

“The exhibition approach recognises that Lilo’s works have often been ephemeral and site-specific, and thus resist reshowing”, says exhibition Curator, Ioana Gordon-Smith.”

“The show flirts with the boundary between new and old, using modes of retrieval, remixing and remaking that are nonetheless characteristic of how Lilo works.”

Since graduating with a Master of Arts and Design in 2006, Lilo has consistently made work that turns the familiar into the extraordinary. The sites and sounds, places and publics that infiltrate our everyday actions become her raw material. Similarly, her interactions with people become the basis for community collaborations. These are then turned into installations that are often experimental in nature, using social media, text, photography, videos and objects to create interactive and unconventional displays.

Because her work celebrates the everyday, Lilo always has a broad audience in mind. “I believe in making art that is simple, playful, accessible and dynamic”, says Lilo.

“I like to think that the art I create will not only stand up to an audience that is academically informed but, more importantly, to people from different intellectual abilities, cultures and ages.”

This focus on real people and real experiences embodies an important social consciousness, bringing into the gallery people, images and technologies that are often overlooked because of their ubiquity.

It is within mainstream behaviours and widely used technologies, however, that Lilo most keenly observes power dynamics between access, agency and representation. From the influence of the digital revolution to local interpretations of popular cultural, Lilo captures both how the world around us shifts and how the world looks at any moment in time.

For Janet Lilo: Status Update, Lilo has created a series of large-scale installations that span three gallery spaces in Te Uru. These include a photo-montage made from over 10,000 6”x4” photographs, printed using self-service machines at Harvey Norman stores around Auckland, a music video featuring text and images sourced through Google, and neon works that re-use subject lines from the artist’s previous email correspondence with another artist living on the other side of the world.

The survey exhibition Janet Lilo: Status Update is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated publication of the same name. It features text from five writers: Ioana Gordon-Smith, Monique Redmond, Caterina Riva, Ema Tavola and Nina Tonga. With Tessa King acting as editor and Te Uru’s in-house designer Julia Gamble over-seeing Status Update’s look and production, the book is proudly an all-woman affair.

Janet Lilo: Status Update runs at Te Uru from 28 May – 28 August 2016.
Opening: Saturday 28 May, 4pm-6pm

Generously supported by Creative New Zealand, Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust, and Rose and John Dunn.

Hours: 10am – 4.30pm daily
Address: 420 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, Auckland
Website: www.teuru.org.nz