... MEMORY & THE MUSEUM
I am installing ECHO BONE, dreaming of Palais de Bulles, tomorrow i head to St Tropez. ︎ this total stranger is suddenly standing in my installation space. We start to talk about pink palaces and how he grew up in Hollywood and his childhood friend was thee Mae West. He likens ECHO BONE to mitochrondria and an Italian sixties sci-fi space ship. He then proceeds to expound the tale of his recent two-month coma, after being hit by a truck on a street corner in Milan while heading to a media conference at Museo Poldi Pezzoli. After which, three months later, he woke up, memory of zero, as if in a Fellini meets David Cronenberg film and was to learn that a high percentage of the bones in his body has been replaced with titanium including his spine.
After Buffalo mozzarella, that resembles giant puffball fungi, with Mark Dion and team ︎ and I head down to the ocean weaving through the entire town of Naples. I struggle to keep up with ︎‘s New Orleans stride as we race through the Nepolese kitsch avoiding the mosquitoese vespas. The trashy characters on the steamy bustling streets are as if from an Italian John Waters’ film. We swim in the ocean to a full moon, sanctified. The next morning down on the rocks I notice petrol oil swirling on the surface of the ocean glistening in the sun. Tantalisingly toxic. The Nepolise waste wars and the Triangle of Death cross my mind and I wonder Robert Smithson’s Ashfalt Rundown 1969, is still somewhere nearby in Rome. I feel home sick for my small volcanic archaepalo. Tomorrow we will head to Pompeii. We get home the team show me the pieces from the show including a diarama of Vesuvius. The tourism of destruction is bizzare but I’m with the right gang to feel like a legit faux archaelogist. I capture the ruins on my camera already filled with so many undeletable photos, savoured from my recent nomadic lives in New York and Berlin. In the morning we paint sea creatures and a few days later I train to Venice, sitting next to a current member of Crowley’s Golden Dawn. I have no idea the main exhibition is The Enclypodeia of the Human Mind. Uncanny. Constantly deleting my archived photos as I maze through the Giardiani. In a moment I accidently delete them all. Napoli and Pompeii now just a strange rushing memory or maybe a dream.
Duk Hee arrives at dinner shaken. In 2014 my soul friend, artist Anne Duk Hee Jordan, in an appropriate lineage, a former student of Olafur Eliasson’s Institute fur Raum Experimente, just finished installing a major retropective of Otto Peine’s 1967 work The Proliteration of the Sun at the Neue Nationalgalarie in Berlin. Entitled in reaction and ironic response to nuclear proliteration in the 1960’s. On his way home in a taxi, from the final installation to prepare for the opening night, Otto Peine passed away from a heart attack. A strange sense of peace is felt with the news. It seems only fitting that the show opened during the night. We crossed Berlin cycling through the deep summer air and dusky tree clad streets and parks, we arrive at the opening at around midnight. Zero hour. The Neue Nationalegalarie is a glow, this 1960’s minilamalist glass house, now some kind of wunderkammer. We sit on the vast gallery floor and let the kaledescopic light and Peine’s mark wash over us. Just as Peine envisaged - ‘poetically journeying us through space‘.
Finally i catch up with Dad, Roger Peters. He is preparing his exhibition. We talk about how Germano Celnant has just died of Covid 19 in the initial rampage in Italy. Dad continues to talk about Art Povera and truth of materials. Some times it just takes one of your touchstones for the reality of the virus to hit. I think about being at the Auckland Art Gallery Groundswell: Auckland Avante Guarde retrospective, of all my elders and my parents, in summer 2018. They have even recreated the original floor tiles from the 1970’s show. As i wander through the remants of this 1970’s revolution of forerunners in conceptual and experimental art in NZ. I realise Dad’s Suspended Wires (heated kiln wires) could kill on touch, or simply 3rd degree burn or even burn down the gallery. Fuck Museum Art, a 1970’s slogan on a flyer from the archive, in the next room plays over in my head. The 1970’s generator grumbles noisely across the entire gallery as it revolves.
I walk this small loop walk every day around the lawn, like a tribute to Richard Long. As the pandemic hit it really seemed all anyone could talk of, mowing the lawn, grasping for the everyday. Mum, Maree Horner’s work, The Chair 1973, also harnesses high voltage. She said it was a response to the suburbia and her father electrifying the car to ward off cats at night, in Auckland’s `Eastern suburbs…. My granfdfather was a German P.O.W for 4 years, he commited suicide drowning himself in the estuary at 85 when the war memories started bubbling to the surface at night. Reading through the Art forum archives, somewhere in my gut these lockdown days I carry the death of Robert Smithson. It is all too poetic that he died entropically over an earthwork. ‘The terrain is flat and loaded with "middle-income" housing developments with names like royal garden estates, rolling knolls farm, valley view acres, split-level manor, babbling brook ranch-estates, colonial vista homes-on and on they go, forming tiny boxlike arrangements. Most of the houses are painted white, but many are painted petal pink, frosted mint, buttercup, fudge, rose beige, antique green, cape cod brown, lilac, and so on. The highways crisscross through the towns and become man-made geological networks of concrete. In fact, the entire landscape has a mineral presence. From the shinychrome diners to glass windows of shopping centers, a sense of the crystalline prevails.’
The sun is high and the others keep applying sunblock. ︎ is reading, Naked, Robert Katz’s biography about Carl Andre and Ana Mendieta. In New York 1985, Mendieta died tragically by falling 33 floors from the window of the apartment she shared with Andre onto the roof of a deli. The indent of her body created upon impact was an awful echo of the artist's fiercely original siluetas works. The verdict of Andre’s aquital divided the art world. The bush fires are raging in Oz, with 480 million animals, kangaroos, koalas and many rare and wonderful species desimated. I think of childhood Sundays running my hands as a kid along the museum ballestrades, obsessed with all the animal displays from the ground up, later to fly giant kites high into the sky running down the volcanic slopes of Pukekawa, Auckland domain, one of the city’s oldest volcanoes, which erupted over 100,000 years ago. As we head in fromthe beach to the car parked in a small resodental cul de sac. The sun is apocolyptic, literally solarised. As the afternoon falls, the sky gets thicker with an increasingly awkward orange hue. This is not normal ︎ proclaims. Like a sepia filter. By night we can even smell the smoke drifting across the entire Tasman sea. It depends on the wind.