Nau mai, haere mai, welcome to EyeContact. You are invited to respond to reviews and contribute to discussion by registering to participate.

JH

Pondering Iraq

AA
View Discussion
Still from Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence. 2016-19. Single channel video, 26.44 minutes Still from Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence. 2016-19.  Single channel video, 26.44 minutes Still from Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence. 2016-19. Single channel video, 26.44 minutes Still from Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence. 2016-19. Single channel video, 26.44 minutes Still from Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence. 2016-19. Single channel video, 26.44 minutes Still from Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence. 2016-19. Single channel video, 26.44 minutes Installation view of Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence film being screened at Two Rooms. Single channel video, 26.44 minutes Installation view of Susan Norrie's Spheres of Influence film being screened at Two Rooms. Single channel video, 26.44 minutes

Iraq: Spheres of Influence has a brilliant accompanying catalogue—edited by Ewen McDonald—containing (alongside stills from Norrie's film) excellent discussions about the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916). The former was between T. E. Lawrence and the Arab leader Emir Feisal focussing on Palestine; and the latter between France and Britain, endorsing a contrary arrangement made between Britain and the Israelis.

Auckland

 

Susan Norrie
Spheres of Influence


7 June -17 July 2024

This film by Susan Norrie was commissioned by the Canberra-based Australian War Memorial. It focuses on Iraq, the tensions in the Middle East, and informally dwells on the presence of Australian and New Zealand troops put there (with Iraqi soldiers) ostensibly as a buffer against ISIS. Her trip was brief and so she ended up with a kind of diary that looks at their daily routines and more importantly includes an extended interview with exiled Iraqi poet Salah Al Hamdani in Versailles about the history of the conflict in the Middle East.

Iraq: Spheres of Influence has a brilliant accompanying catalogue—edited by Ewen McDonald—containing (alongside stills from Norrie’s film) excellent discussions about the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and the Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916). The post WW1 conference had T. E. Lawrence and the Arab leader Emir Feisal asking for Palestine (as a reward for Arab help in defeating the Turks, but being rejected by France and Britain, who endorsed a secret contrary arrangement made between Britain and the Israelis.

Harold Pinter’s scathing 2005 Art, Truth & Politics Nobel essay about Bush’s and Blair’s deceitful involvement is probably still the clearest commentary on the Iraq situation—and similar in many ways to the view of Salah Al Hamdani. (It is published in Pinter’s anthology of plays and poetry.) Al Hamdani believes the West makes a lot of money selling arms to participants in the Middle East conflicts and that those profits are enjoyed by Europe.

Norrie’s film presents Salah Al Hamdani explaining his point of view, and the publication has terrific back-up explanations by Juliana Messina and Aaron W. Hughes of the damaging consequences of the previously mentioned clashing treaties.

Susan Norrie of course has an exemplary history as an innovative artist skilled at making sensual and conceptually intriguing paintings—before she began pursuing film-making. The 2016 diptych she presents here is uncharacteristically a photorealist work, but it depicts a young male soldier having his face blow-dried, allowing his complexion to be improved with a face pack. It is almost a monochrome.

This painting could be a comment about a ‘new’ masculinity, or sensitivity, or vanity: a grunt preparing for a night out locally or a trip back home. It can also be a vague question about male sexuality and its conventional assumptions. Or the whiteness of the cosmetic face pack is a droll comment needling European colonialism. The slipperiness of the image stretches one’s interpretative facilities and is unsettlingly ambiguous in the way that the best art often is.

John Hurrell

Print | Facebook | Twitter | Email

 

Recent Posts by John Hurrell

JH
The smaller Derek Jarman paintings as installed at Gus Fisher. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Jarman Paintings

GUS FISHER GALLERY

Auckland

 

Derek Jarman
Delphinium Days

 


15 June - 14 September 2024

JH
Installation view at Reeves Rd, of Lolani Dalosa's Character Studies billboards. Photo: Sam Hartnett

Dalosa Billboards

Te Tuhi (Reeves Rd) and Parnell Station

Pakuranga

 

Lolani Dalosa
Character Studies

 


12 May - 21 July 2024

JH
David McCracken, Pursuit--On the Road to the Sea House, 2024, corten steel, 2720 x 3170 x 1100 mm. Photo: Guy Quartermain

Clever Physical McCracken

Gow Langsford (Onehunga)

Onehunga

 

David McCracken
Attraction and Transmission

 

15 June -13 July 2024

JH
Richard Killeen, Destruction of the Circle, 1990,  acrylic and collage on aluminium, 55 pieces, 1900 x 4250 mm pictured, dimensions variable.

Gow Langsford Killeen Cutout Survey

GOW LANGSFORD GALLERY

Auckland Tamaki Makaurau

 

Richard Killeen
Hang in any order

 

3 July - 27 July 2024