In Pursuit of Venus [infected] was conceived as a response to the 1800s wallpaper Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique (1804–05) by Jean-Gabriel Charvet. It is a monumental video installation that brings to life Māori and Pacific Indigenous peoples’ relationships with their cultural knowledge and spaces. As the video pans slowly from right to left, it reveals new landscapes of colonization and cultural identity. Both Charvet’s wallpaper and Reihana’s video are set amidst a utopian, fabricated Tahitian landscape; however, while the former models Enlightenment ideas of harmony, Reihana’s reading of history focuses on the complexity of colonization and cultural identity.
Lisa Reihana: In Pursuit of Venus [infected] is curated by Julie Nagam and presented by the Art Gallery of Ontario in partnership with imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. For more information, please visit ago.ca.
This installation can be viewed free of charge for visitors 25 and under at all times, and is free for the general public on Wednesdays from 6 to 9pm.
Tai Whetuki—House of Death Redux, a related work by Reihana, is currently on view at 259 Lake Shore Blvd E.
Lisa Reihana (Maori – Nga Puhi, born in 1964 and lives in Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand) is a multidisciplinary artist who received a BFA from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland and a Master in Design degree from UNITEC Institute of Technology, School of Visual Art and Design, Auckland. She represented New Zealand at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017) and has contributed in important ways to multimedia, photography, sculpture and screen culture in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Art Gallery of Ontario
The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)’s original home was The Grange, built in 1817. The property was once owned by Harriet Boulton Smith who, after joining a community of artists and business people that advocated for an art gallery in the city, gifted the estate and the building in 1902. The Art Gallery of Toronto (AGT) was established in 1913. New immigrants to Toronto settled nearby in “The Ward” between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. It became home to Jews, Italians, African-Canadians, Irish refugees, and later Chinese communities. By the time the AGT became the AGO in 1966, the area was a thriving, densely populated, and culturally rich neighbourhood.
317 Dundas St W