Luke Willis Thompson
The Adam Art Gallery is proud to present the first large-scale solo exhibition in a New Zealand public gallery by London-based artist Luke Willis Thompson. This is Adam Art Gallery’s contribution to the Visual Arts Programme of the 2018 New Zealand Festival.
Thompson has described his recent moving-image artworks as an attempt to ‘find form for political silence.’ The exhibition is a materialisation of this effort, staging three silent films in near-total darkness over the Adam Art Gallery’s three levels.
The show premieres Thompson’s latest work, How Long? filmed in Fiji in December 2017. Shot on analogue 16mm film in portrait format and transferred to digital media, the work has been conceived for this gallery context. Thompson’s film presents four individuals who are each the namesake of nations where Fijian soldiers have served over the past four decades. Indexing these sites of unrest, Thompson’s new work extends his preoccupation with documenting human subjects through whom instances of historical violence and racial injustice can be traced. His work makes a case for art’s potential to intervene in and stand apart from the flow of images that capture events and serve as their record.
Since winning the prestigious Walters Prize in 2014, Luke Willis Thompson (Fiji/ New Zealand) has received considerable critical attention. His works have been included in exhibitions in Canada, Brazil, the USA, Germany and the UK. After studying at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, between 2013 and 2014, he spent two years in London as Chisenhale Gallery’s artist in residence, where he produced his first two films—Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries (2016) and autoportrait (2017) that are also included in this exhibition. Thompson has developed a deeply thoughtful body of work that addresses the complex legacies of colonialism and the cruel effects of capitalism on indigenous and migrant people as these have played out in the Pacific, and as they continue to impact people of colour around the world.
The exhibition and the artist’s residency have received substantial support from Creative New Zealand, Chartwell Trust, Jan Warburton Charitable Trust, Wellington City Council, The Clark Collection, Park Road Post Production, and Victoria University of Wellington. He is represented by Hopkinson Mossman (Auckland & Wellington) and Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin.
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