Adam Art Gallery launches two new exhibitions

Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery begins the autumn season with two new shows: In Relation: Performance Works by Peter Roche & Linda Buis 1979–1985 and Legacies: Five Short Films for Cinema by Edith Amituanai, Martin Sagadin, Ukrit Sa-nguanhai, Pati Tyrell, and Sriwhana Spong.

Image on left depicts two people standing against a blank wall holding a piece of string between them. Photo on the right depicts a woman backlit by the sun.
[Left] Peter Roche & Linda Buis, Little Studio, detail, 1984, two photographs from a boxed set of drawings and photographs, courtesy of Peter Roche Estate [Right] Edith Amituanai, Epifania (2022), still from digital video, 8 mins 30 secs, commissioned by CIRCUIT with the assistance of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa

In Relation: Performance Works by Peter Roche & Linda Buis 1979–1985 is the first focused exhibition revisiting the intense and challenging performance work of artist-couple Linda Buis (1954–2015) and Peter Roche (1957–2020) who worked together between 1979 and 1985. Featuring photographs, film and video footage, drawings, texts, artist-publications, and published and unpublished commentary from the surviving archive, the exhibition re-examines a series of live performances which tested both the artists and their audiences physically and psychologically.

Curated by Toronto/Berlin-based curator and writer Gregory Burke, who photographed many of the couple’s performances, and Adam Art Gallery Director Christina Barton, who documented their early work in her MA thesis on the history of post-object art in New Zealand, the exhibition charts the particular contribution Roche & Buis make to the history of performance art.

In Relation draws attention to how the duo used the dynamics of their bodies in space to navigate their relationships with each other, their audiences, the places they worked in and the role of the camera in recording and shaping the live work they made.

Gregory Burke says “Roche & Buis’s situation-specific performances, undertaken in a diversity of spaces—from public galleries during the day to desolate and dangerous outdoor spaces at night—worked to delineate expanded possibilities and contexts for contemporary art, while testing what it means to be ‘in relation’ to another, in all its multiple dimensions.”

Christina Barton adds: “Their practice is fascinating for the way it edges into the new territory of the postmodern by literally splitting the artistic subject in two, and for their recognition of the camera as a structuring element in the execution of their work and the production of its afterlife.”

In Relation highlights how Roche & Buis focused on interaction as a means to explore physical and psychological vulnerability, both in connection to each other and in relationship to the viewer. In doing so the exhibitionnot only considers the dynamics of gender relations as a driver for art making, but also the oscillating forces at play between performer and audience and live and recorded action.

Running alongside In Relation is a programme of five new moving image works commissioned and toured by CIRCUIT Artist Moving Image. Legacies is curated by 2022 CIRCUIT curator-at-large Dr May Adadol Ingawanij.

Prompted by a series of propositions that Ingawanij sent to the artists, the short films are each artist’s personal response to the manifold meanings of the term ‘legacies’. As Ingawanij says, “Legacies are that which we carry, sometimes with pride and sometimes with shame, as the basis of social bonding, whether as things a people embodies with pride or as an enduring pain, a burden, some kind of ghost.”

The result is a programme of five new artist films which features: a portrait of a young Pasifika matriarch; a reflection on the cinematic history of Thailand; an artist sculpting clay in their studio; an animation based on a Balinese painting made by the artist’s grandfather, and a vivid interpretation of Samoan funeral chants and speeches.

Legacies is accompanied by the Legacies Reader, a new publication edited by Thomasin Sleigh, with contributions from the artists, as well as fiction and essays from Huni Mancini, Tina Makereti and more.

Read the artist biographies on the Adam Art Gallery website.

Exhibition details

In Relation: Performance Works by Peter Roche & Linda Buis 1979–1985

Curated by Gregory Burke and Christina Barton

Legacies: Five Short Films for Cinema by Edith Amituanai, Martin Sagadin, Ukrit Sa-nguanhai, Pati Tyrell, and Sriwhana Spong

Curated by May Adadol Ingawanij, commissioned and toured by CIRCUIT Artist Moving Image

Te Pātaka Toi Adam Art Gallery