Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Frenzied Friday – Nicolini’s and Footnote

9 October

It was raining and windy as can be, one of those awesome Wellington winds that gust up from nowhere, blows unsuspecting tourists’ umbrellas inside out, and smacks you full on in the face. But the weather does not determine how much fun you can have on a Friday night!

We started with a supper at Nicolini’s. This is an Italian restaurant that we had tried to get into before but the wait was for over an hour. Tonight was our lucky night, and with being early we were able to get a table. We had selections from the mains specials. Linguine Pescatore included mussels, clams, squid and prawns in a gloriously garlicy tomato sauce. A smoked salmon risotto with unexpected but welcome pine nuts and cheese was super rich. As much as the pasta was good I wish I had opted for  a smaller dish so that I could do justice to the desserts. Ryan went for Tiramisu – and this was the real deal. None of that stodgy cheesecakey type stuff that generally gets passed off as tiramisu. I went for profiteroles and just could not finish the portion. Yum yum yum.


From there a short walk in the rain (that comes at you horizontally) to Circa Theatre. The performance of Footnote Dance Company’s “Footnote Forte” was to begin here. Footnote is NZ’s contemporary dance company and this production was a set of six solos. Four of these were to be performed at the theatre. A fifth at Museum Hotel a little way down the road and the final dance at Hooch Bar in Courtenay Place a few blocks down. The concept was superb – theatrical production, walking around the city to new places, dance in different settings, a fabulous little adventure.

The first dance was performed by Francis Christeller. This was set to a series of classical music with operatic pieces. The dancer sang a bit too which worked well within the piece. A really moving if sombre piece. Second was Claire Lissaman who danced to ‘sounds’ (to me this sounded like bits of music that had been stretched or compressed and out of order) and worked through a bit of madness, talking to herself, blowing away imaginary bugs. A really intense piece combining physical with mental emotive states. Then Anita Hunziker who danced a frenetic piece. This girl had some serious energy and stamina. Lots of jumping and falling and rolling and flying. Awe inspiring. Last at the theatre was Jeremy Poi who danced with a wall and paint. The dance involved him pushing a wall prop in a rugby scrum style. During the dance he painted the outline of his torso on the wall, covered his legs in paint and then scraped out tattoo  like patterns.

We then walked along to Museum Hotel. Museum hotel displays contemporary NZ art. It was a treat to be here again even if just to wander through the art. The modern art against the old grandeur of the hotel is such a clever balance. The dance performed was an installation piece by Jesse Wikiriwhi. He danced behind a paper wall with light and images provided solely by a projector. The piece was about imagery. For me it was connecting images from your childhood to adult dreams. It was the fun of motion and image and shadow.

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(pics above from various Footnote promotional posters)

Then a walk to Hooch Bar. The name is most unfortunate and does not reflect the style of the bar at all. It’s a classy burlesque themed bar. One of those places that is a door on the street that you have walked passed hundreds of times. Walking up a wooden staircase took us to a view of exposed wood rafters, the beautiful intricate wall paper, solid wood floors, leather covered chairs and vintage lampshades. Sarah Knox performed a dance using a hoop suspended from the ceiling. Very clever dancer to virtually rework her dance on the spot. She was crowded in by the audience and lost probably a metre of space all around her.

What a wonderful night. Wellington rocks!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years


Went to the City Gallery in Wellington yesterday. This gallery has been closed for many months and opened just a few weeks ago with an exhibition of works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusami. The exterior of the gallery has been covered with dots! Without knowing the artist or what the exhibition contained this made little sense. But I loved the playfulness of it, and that the city of Wellington has spirit enough to update an old building in this way. The dots are stickers – so no damage will be caused to the building.


There was a monster queue to get inside. Two reasons for this – the first being that only 200 visitors are permitted in the gallery at one time, giving enough space to allow you to look at the art properly. I do like this. The second – unbeknownst to me, was this was a free entrance day. So in the half hour wait I had plenty of time to contemplate the dots – but no wild epiphanies came to the fore.

In the civic square there are a number of government council buildings, plus the gallery and library. Suspended above the square is a silver ball sculpture featuring the NZ fern symbol.  What caught my eye was the silver urban sculpture on top of a building a little way back.


The exhibition was great – humorous and thought provoking and spacey. These pics are from www.yayoi-kusama.jp.

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spheres suspended from the ceiling

‘Moment of regeneration’ monster silver/black vinyl covered bubbles on the floor and hanging about  
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the wall, floors and ceiling painted in black with the orange dots, amorphous balloons floating around. walking into this was like walking into some version of outer space between the black room and the orange room (coming up) was a maze of convex mirrors about to enter the orange room The orange room being the inverse of the black room, including the shape and position of the balloons
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The above is a different gallery, but just to give you an idea of the black and white canvases Each canvas is about 1m x 1.5m. She uses black marker and pens out patterns and repeats of shapes Lots of line work – the detail is phenomenal. Apparently she would create a work like this in one sitting – working for 30 or more hours to complete it. I would guess you go into a trance like state with the dots and lines and fluid repeats