In a Dream of 200,000,000 Horses
May 13 - June 4, 2016
Like all good artists, in his exhibition In a Dream of 200,000,000 Horses, Nathan Pohio is still dreaming, still exploring, still pushing. For him, the challenge here is scale and a change of trope. Pohio has re-photographed pages from a kitsch horse calendar, then re-composed the images so they can be printed in lavish detail up to four metres across. In so doing, our reading of the subject matter is changed as the found imagery, originally kitsch, becomes something else.
In the work In a Dream of Natasha Von Braun, a single dark horse turns towards us. Lone and sentinel-like against a blue-grey ground, we are surveyed and watched over out of one eye. The effect is dignified, elegant and dreamlike, to the point of melancholy – a long way from the higher key sentimentality of the original.
The exhibition’s big title work is a grand motion study in the tradition of Edward Muybridge (or even Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase). A single horse splashes through surf, so that frame by frame we sense the movement of beast and limb crashing through the waves. This is the visual ecstatic, or as Coca Cola might say, something bubbling, frothing with the taste of the real thing.
Nathan Pohio is a Walters Award nominee – the first from the South Island – for his large outdoor work presented by Scape Public Art late last year by the Bridge of Remembrance in Christchurch. That was a backlit image from 1905, of cloaked Tuahuriri leaders upon their horses standing either side of Lord and Lady Plunket, who sit in a small Model T Ford. Pohio handsomely made over a small historical photograph – in this case with new technologies – for the viewers of today.
In images still or moving, both inside galleries and out, Nathan Pohio continues to dream of hoiho, of horses – 200 million of them in fact. Kia ora Nathan.
List of works
In a Dream of 200,000,000 Horses, 2016
In a Dream of Natasha Von Braun, 2016
Black Velvet Stallion, 2015