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dis-comfort - Exploring History And Memory

16 July 2004

A new performance installation takes a personal view of the nature of memory and the passing of experiences between generations.

dis-comfort, by Dunedin artist Terèsa Andrew, combines installation and video performance, in a new exhibition opening at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu on 23 July. The work, which follows dis-grace, a performance installation that featured at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery last year, is part of a series by the artist.

Terèsa Andrew says dis-comfort is made in response to childhood memories of stories told, including those relating to the German history of World War II. Andrew’s German grandmother cared for the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and the stories of her experiences were passed to the artist by her mother.

“The work re-presents a reality and remembered/forgotten sensations and experiences, it speaks of violence, dictatorship, neglect and painful unspoken memory/experiences,” Terèsa Andrew says.

Andrew says the collection of objects used within the installation, which includes the repetitive use of a white swastika symbol, milk biscuits and soap, are dislocated from their every-day context through their placement and positioning.
“I use familiar and unfamiliar signs of childhood/history. Each individual object is repeated to form a series, a collection.”

“These objects, positioned in a particular space and within a particular context offer the viewer a different, unexpected reading of them.”

The exhibition will also include a performance, recorded during the installation process and displayed as part of the work.

Gallery curator of contemporary art Felicity Milburn says the work deals with serious issues in an evocative way, through the use of symbols and images that represent both personal and historic experiences.

“Terèsa Andrew’s work, though challenging, is also positive, in the sense that it publicly addresses memories of oppression and violence, while placing an emphasis on the process of remembering through generations.”

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