This page is not a current Christchurch City Council document. Please read our disclaimer.

Christchurch City Council Media Release 15 April, 1998


‘PreMillennial: Signs of the Soon Coming Storm’

by Ronnie Van Hout and Mike Stevenson

The current fixation of the mass media on evil and shocking alien encounters contrasts starkly with earlier depictions of visits to Earth by harmless and friendly green men. Deep, dark secrets and convoluted theories of governmental cover-ups and alien abductions dominate primetime television and bombard the big screen. PreMillennial provides a compelling and often humorous insight into a brave new world where aliens and hostile government forces lurk behind every tree, door and computer screen. Running from 24 April until 31 May, this collaborative exhibition by two New Zealand-born artists plays upon the anxieties of a paranoid and future-obsessed society that is rapidly approaching the new millennium.

Mike Stevenson’s delicate pastel drawings have been diligently copied from photographs in magazines such as Time, Art New Zealand and Artforum. These images are then intermittantly lit from behind by a flashing ultra violet light which reveals hidden messages and secret slogans, playing on contemporary anxieties about relying on appearances and nothing is as it seems. In one work an image shows American artist Jeff Koons in front of a classroom of children has been altered to display the number 666 branded across Koon’s forehead. Stevenson takes delight in the scenario of contemporary art slowly brainwashing the population in readiness for alien invasion.

Ronnie Van Hout presents a series of "UFO sightings" together with photocopies of his unemployment papers from the New Zealand Labour Department.

These documents highlight the commonly-held opinion that art is not a ‘real job’ and question the relevance of the artist in today’s world. Several small plastic model dioramas are positioned around the Gallery, each depicting the debris of war. These tiny scenes of destruction add to a growing sense of the redundancy of art in this violent pre- apocalyptic world. PreMillennial can be seen at the McDougall Contemporary Art Annex from 24 April until 31 May, 1998.

The McDougall Contemporary Art Annex, located in the Christchurch Arts Centre, features international, national and local contemporary exhibitions. The Annex and the main Gallery are open daily except Christmas Day and Good Friday. Hours are 10 am. to 4.30 pm. Free daily guided tours are available on request and admission is free.

Christchurch Art Gallery ~ Media Releases index

This page is not a current Christchurch City Council document. Please read our disclaimer.
© Christchurch City Council, Christchurch, New Zealand | Contact the Council