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23 March 2019 —
19 May 2019

The True Artist Helps the World by Asking for Trust

A little night music
PĀNiA!, Pakuranga Customs House/Attitude Arrival Lounge, 2019 (detail). Courtesy the artist, Te Tuhi and Mokopōpaki, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by Sam Hartnett
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Te Tuhi and Mokopōpaki are pleased to present The True Artist Helps the World by Asking for Trust, a series of solo and newly commissioned collaborative works by the anonymous, über-cool-girl, artist-about-town, PĀNiA!

PĀNiA!’s exhibition at Te Tuhi includes her Pakuranga Customs House or Attitude Arrival Lounge: an immigration and border control office, complete with passport-issuing facility, welcoming those wanting to explore a world built on trust. In architectural form, Pakuranga Customs House adapts a well-known mahi whai or Māori string figure. Its transparent walk-through walls represent the change of heart necessary for trust, allowing visitors access to the unexpected realm of PĀNiA! – where the mysterious myth-maiden and doyenne of the deep becomes a legend in her own lunchbox.

The Customs House entry point also functions as a place of departure in the homage it pays to artistic explorations of the past, particularly those of American artist Bruce Nauman (b. 1941, Indiana). PĀNiA! produces her own unique take on an iconic work by Nauman: his 1967 neon The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths (Window or Wall Sign). In this invocation of Nauman, one fantastical presence plays with another – a long-imagined idea of PĀNiA!’s. For extra engagement with the spirit of Nauman, the exhibition also includes one of his experimental films from the 1960s.

The collaboration of The True Artist Helps the World by Asking for Trust continues at Mokopōpaki on Karangahape Road in the spinoff exhibition The Dutch Embassy. Here PĀNiA! in association with Yllwbro and A.A.M. Bos interrogates relations between people and places, using humour and provocation. In painting, sculpture, installation, photography, film, foodstuffs and specially designed soundtracks, they propose a counter-narrative to the nationally sanctioned 2019 commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the landing in Aotearoa by James Cook. Led by PĀNiA! the participating artists mischievously explore the cultural consequences of a ‘what if?’ situation in reference to the first documented European to sight our islands, the Dutch merchant Abel Janszoon Tasman. In 1642, more than 100 years before Cook’s expedition, Tasman made temporary landfall in Aotearoa, then abandoned all hope of a meaningful retail encounter with local Māori, and sailed away into the sunset, guilders intact.


Catalogue text


Serious Fun: Who the Heck is PĀNiA!? – The Pantograph Punch
Make Way For Love – EyeContact
A guide to some of Auckland’s best artist-run initiatives – The Spinoff
Meet the underground art scene in Auckland that you’ve probably never heard about – The Denizen