Aotearoa Baroque

The Aotearoa Baroque project provokes the possibility there may be baroque tendencies in the contemporary culture of Aotearoa New Zealand: in our art, our design, our architecture and literature. In doing so, we respond to a global phenomena that makes connections between complexity theory, post-colonial histories, art history and the neo-baroque, while searching for our own intensely local identity of form and meaning.

Perhaps this seems strange? Is it unusual to refer to a 300 year old artistic style that celebrates turbulent movement, heady desire, kitsch confection and degenerate grandeur here in the 21st century South Pacific? And, perhaps more importantly, what use is the baroque to a people with no baroque history?

In 2011 we held a symposium to interrogate these questions and the discussion led to El Barroco de Aotearoa at MUCA Roma in Mexico City. Six of our most interesting contemporary artists used a variety of media from sculpture to video to painting to photography, to produce the first ever significant showing of New Zealand art in Mexico.

In November 2013 the project stages the StrangeBaroqueEcologies symposium: if ecology is the "study of organisms in relation to one another and to their surroundings" then this symposium seeks to interrogate how theories of the baroque may be usefully applied to better understand those relationships here.

Projects

El Barroco Loco / the Local Baroque

This exhibition at the Engine Room, Massey University, featured the work of six "local" artists: Terry Urbahn, Catherine Bagnall, Jo Langford, Grant Takle and Richard Reddaway. August 2010.

The Aotearoa Baroque Symposium

Aotearoa Baroque Symposium was a three-day event that explored the baroque and biculturalism in New Zealand. Co-hosted by Massey University and the Film Archive with support from the Embassy of Mexico.

El Barroco de Aotearoa

El Barroco de Aotearoa featured the work of six contemporary New Zealand artists: Catherine Bagnall, Simon Morris, Joanna Langford, Jae Hoon Lee, Terry Urbahn and Reweti Arapere. It was staged at MUCA Roma, a leading site for the dissemination of contemporary art in Mexico City, and was the first significant show of contemporary New Zealand art in Mexico. The project received support from a number of institutions including Massey International Visiting Researcher Fund, the College of Creative Arts Strategic Research Fund, the Mexican Embassy, Film Archive, Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Creative NZ. 

El Retorno del Barroco

El Retorno del Barroco was the Embassy of Mexico’s second “curated by” exhibition. A collaborative team lead by Richard Reddaway explored a project that generated (and continues to generate) artistic understanding between Mexico and New Zealand.