Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Inside out

It’s not often that Te Papa pauses from telling ‘our story’ to let the world beyond these shores creep in. Simon Denny has certainly thrown open a window up on the fifth floor. Te Papa’s bold purchase of a chunk of Secret Power, Denny’s contribution to the last Venice Biennale, has just been installed and it is wrapped in an antipodean version of the Marciana Library in St Mark’s Square. Drawing on his colonisation last year of the Venice airport, Denny has transformed the floor and walls of the Te Papa exhibition space. They’re covered in an enormous colour photograph of the Marciana Library complete with its famous murals, ornate mouldings and arched windows, but inverted. The idea of being upside down at the bottom of the planet is a perspective NZers understand all too well, but this time our point of view is radically modified. By shining light on the evil darkness of the spy world Denny reminds us how inextricably attached we are to the rest of the world, whichever way up we like to think we are.

Image: Simon Denny’s Secret Power installed at Te Papa