press release

Mostly harmless presents a selection of artist performances accompanied by a programme of video documentation of both historic and contemporary performances. The video programme includes a variety of works that contextualise the live performances both conceptually and within the history of performance art since the late 1960s. Over a six week period Mostly harmless presents a programme of gallery based and offsite live performances. Performance frequently activates the dynamic between artist and audience by inciting a response from the audience. Mostly harmless focuses on this point of exchange between audience, performer and environment through different contingencies set within each performance.

Opening weekend performances: Saturday 19 August: 10.30 am-5pm David Cross Bounce. With Bounce Cross continues his exploration of the commonly accepted boundaries of the beautiful and the grotesque. Cross presents a powerful performance that tests the artist’s endurance through a surprising combination of intimacy and distance with the audience.

Sunday 20 August: 2–3 pm Matt Henry Breakdown Henry explores obsessive behaviour in the home through a compulsive re-configuring of his surroundings.

Programme continues with:

Saturday 26 August: 2-2.45 pm James McCarthy Accent McCarthy works with sound and its constructed perception via process based performative action. For this piece McCarthy will create a wall drawing with nylon, steel, horse hair, piano wire, nails and ratchets which he will then play as an instrument, exploring the tonalities of the piece, which are determined by the length and tension of the wire and nylon. The activation of the strings/drawing is informed by McCarthy’s long association with minimalist and serial music forms combined with his skill as a percussionist. Accent relays the physical relationship of sound and materials through serial improvisation.

Saturday 2 September: 2-2.30pm Simon Denny & Tahi Moore A movie that isn't really good, but is o.k.

Denny and Moore examine the dynamic between things and what they stand for, bringing together a collection of useful objects carefully positioned in formal relationship to each other. Operating in the space between two projections; one an average commercial release movie, the other footage of the artists in a landscape, the artists rearrange the familiar. The two projections essentially mirror each other as framed activity, between them Denny and Moore act out another situation, one that uses a network of familiar objects which they then alter as a way of confounding their accepted meaning.

2.45 - 3.15 pm Mark Harvey Wrap me up make me happy: infectious optimism remix. Harvey will attempt to almost impossibly reconstruct his body into that of a cardboard ‘Transformer’ ™, while seeking the praise and attention of the audience, without responding to them directly.

Friday 8 September: midday-2 pm & Saturday 9 September 11 am-3 pm Kaleb Bennett City tours (Taranaki) City tours (Taranaki) offers 15 minute tours of New Plymouth in a customised tour van. The tours, leaving regularly from outside the Gallery, feature live delivery of site specific audio and visual material. Bennett plays on the format of the guided tour as a launching point for a more textured and emotively charged tour.

Saturday 9 September 2 pm Daniel Malone The Fall The Fall is a performance that brings Malone's recent engagement with hierarchies of value and power through basic architectural devices and tropes such as the vertical, the horizontal, the ground and air, to bear on the Govett-Brewster and New Plymouth in general. This piece follows removing the wheels of a Holden Commodore jacked-up on toilet roll bricks for his 2004 Sydney Biennale project, a homage to Pollock and Ground Zero in Artists Space, New York, earlier this year, and a 'symbolic protest' involving over 300 people attempting to levitate the City Hall for the forthcoming Singapore Biennale. It will make use of the galleries central staircase referencing its history in relation to both Billy Apple's 1980 alteration piece and the building’s original use as a cinema.

Saturday 16 September: 2 -2.30 pm Jim Allen News In a simple yet powerful piece Allen draws attention to the daily cycle of existence and its representation in the news. Mostly the news offers other people’s lives, predominantly disasters, for readers to look at and pass over as they go about their own daily business, today’s news becoming yesterday’s all too rapidly. With News Allen acknowledges that what is presented as news is mediated information and it is up to the reader to choose what to accept as true and what to dismiss. Through his actions Allen emphasises the passage of time, telescoping the distance between living and dying and all that passes between. Allen considers News and his other performance piece Poetry for chainsaws, which will be shown as part of the video programme, to be protest pieces.

9 pm Louise Menzies Sparking duets, New Plymouth Sparking duets, New Plymouth invites amateur and professional musical couples from the local community to perform songs together. The dynamic between performers is often what makes a performance stand out for the audience, Sparkling Duets, New Plymouth further explores that dynamic through the presentation partners performing together. Venue tbc.

Saturday 23 September: 2 –3 pm Tao Wells Art teacher A Using the role and framework of the art teacher, Wells will present and demonstrate an idea that is an alternative to metaphysical and religious structural perceptions of existence.

Video programme The video programme will include previous works by many of the artists performing in the series as well as work by: Vito Acconci, Bruce Barber, Chris Burden, Kah Bee Chow, John Cousins, Phil Dadson, Andrew Drummond, Dan Graham, Amanda Newall, Hannah Wilke, Carey Young


Mostly Harmless

mit Vito Acconci, Jim Allen, Bruce Barber, Kaleb Bennett, Chris Burden, Kah Bee Chow, John Cousins, David Cross, Phil Dadson, Simon Denny, Andrew Drummond, Dan Graham, Mark Harvey, Matt Henry, Daniel Malone, James McCarthy, Louise Menzies, Tahi Moore, Amanda Newall, Tao Wells, Hannah Wilke, Carey Young ...