Within the "Book of the Beginning" of the 4th-century epic known as the Mahabharata, there is a captivating and peculiar aphorism:
"What is here is elsewhere. What is not here is nowhere else."
Scholars have interpreted this expression as a rumination on the contradictions inherent in the singularity and multiplicity of human existence. Despite the differences in our cultural locales, political contexts and environments, there are of course aspects of the human experience we can connect to regardless of our personal subjectivities.
This exhibition looks at three artists who are umbilically connected to Aotearoa but for different reasons – live elsewhere. Through them, we are reminded of how multifarious our connections to the world are. In this moment of opening back up to the world, this exhibition seeks to agitate notions that separate the local from the international through the lens of artists that occupy both spheres.
→ Elsewhere and nowhere else essay by Vera Mey
→ RNZ Saturday Morning – Li-Ming Hu: making a disco performance of yourself
About the artists
Kah Bee Chow
Kah Bee Chow (Malaysia/New Zealand/Sweden) is an artist from Penang, Malaysia and Auckland, New Zealand, living and working in Malmö, Sweden. In her artistic practice, Chow has often worked with forms of protective architecture, including looking at forms for the body such as shields and shells, as well as architectural mechanisms of enclosure such as gates, paying close attention to the particularities of space and site. Her work has been shown in Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Malmö Konstmuseum; Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art, Copenhagen; Kunstlerhaus Bregenz; Tranen Contemporary Art Centre, Copenhagen; Signal Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö; Rupert, Vilnius; Magenta Plains, New York; Artspace, New Zealand, among others.
Li-Ming Hu spent the majority of her life in Tāmaki Makaurau and is currently based in New York City. Often employing a carnivalesque sensibility, her artistic practice engages with the imperatives of our high performance culture, and draws on her past experiences in the entertainment industry to explore the relationships between cultural production and the construction of subjectivities.
She has studied at Auckland University of Technology, Elam School of Fine Arts, has an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and held residencies at the Wassaic Project, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Flux Factory NYC. She has been exhibited at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Tauranga Art Gallery, The Physics Room and The Performance Arcade in Aotearoa and at Co-Prosperity, Roots and Culture and Mana Contemporary in Chicago, USA. In 2020, she was selected as a Breakout Artist by the Chicago arts magazine NewCity.
Yuk King Tan
Yuk King Tan began exhibiting in the mid-1990s after graduating with a BFA from Elam School of Arts, University of Auckland. Her early artistic practice showed characteristics that continue in her practice, such as her use of mass-produced objects. Her artistic practice encompasses video, installation, wall drawings, sculptures and photography to employ the familiar and ordinary in order to highlight the intersections between economics, migration, culture and power. Living and working in Hong Kong since 2005, Tan has engaged with the city to create works that examine the interplay between commerce, power and social status.
Newer artworks by Tan are connected to Hong Kong and concern the pro-democracy protest movement. Some of Tan's early group shows were in Auckland's innovative artist-run gallery Teststrip. She has also participated in a number of international group exhibitions, notably Remember New Zealand, 26th Bienal de São Paulo (2004); Centre of Attraction, the 8th Baltic Triennial, Lithuania (2002); and Flight Patterns, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2000).
About Vera Mey
Vera Mey works part-time to oversee the programme at Te Tuhi, working with independent curators to deliver the exhibition programme. Vera is currently completing a PhD in History of Art & Archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Prior to undertaking her PhD, Vera spent several years working as a contemporary art curator in institutions including ST PAUL St Gallery, AUT University and the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, a contemporary art research centre in Singapore led by Prof. Ute Meta Bauer. More recent independent work has included co-curating and curating exhibitions in New Zealand, Bangkok, Paris, Phnom Penh, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. She has been a researcher on a number of Getty Foundation research initiatives including their partnership with Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong and National Gallery Singapore. She is co-founder of the journal SOUTHEAST OF NOW: Directions in Contemporary and Modern Art in Asia.