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Still from a video featuring an illustrated coastal and mountainous landscape. In the foreground is an actor playing Captain Cook, a soldier, a Grandfather clock, a hut, and two Māori men

in Pursuit of Venus [infected]

See Lisa Reihana’s vast digital wallpaper for the first time in Aotearoa New Zealand since its showing at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

This incredible work has travelled to London, San Francisco, Estonia, Taipei and further, but never to Wellington – until now.

Lisa Reihana’s in Pursuit of Venus [infected] is a retort to the French scenic wallpaper, Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique, produced by Joseph Dufour in 1804.

Dufour’s original wallpaper reflected a widespread fascination with the Pacific voyages undertaken by Captain Cook, de Bougainville, and de la Perouse.

200 years later in Aotearoa, Lisa Reihana employs 21st century digital technologies to bring the scenic wallpaper to life and challenge its Eurocentric narrative.

The final realisation of in Pursuit of Venus [infected] makes visible the historical narratives notably absent from the original wallpaper. Enlivened with the sights and sounds of dance and cultural ceremonies, the vast video panorama is populated by people drawn from across Aotearoa, Australia, the Pacific, and Europe.

in Pursuit of Venus [infected] subverts the imperial gaze by defying historical and contemporary stereotypes, notions of beauty, authenticity, history, and myth.


He whakaaturanga tēnei nā Lisa Reihana.

Ko te ngako o te whakaaturanga nei, he whakaahua tawhito, ko Les Sauvages de la Mer Pacifique te ingoa, nā te tangata Wiwī nei nā Joseph Dufour i tā i te tau 1804. Ko te whakaaahua, ko te tūtakitanga o ngā iwi pākehā ki ngā iwi o Te-Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

Hei tā Lisa, he whakamahi i ngā hangarau o tēnei rautau, e ora mai anō te whakaahua nei, anō nei he kiriata. Ahakoa te ātaahua o ngā kōrero a Joseph Dufour mō tāna whakaahua, he tino rerekē ngā whakaaro o Lisa Reihana, ko tēnei whakaaturanga te kaiwhakaputa i aua whakaaro.

He mea ruku tēnei whakaaturanga ki ngā hītoria, i te tirohanga o ngā iwi taketake, kīhei i kitea ki ngā hītoria a te pākehā. Ko te mutunga iho, he whakaaturanga whakahihiko i te hinengaro.


Presented in association with the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts.


Lisa Reihana stands in front of the doors to Te Papa’s marae, made of blue glass with Māori motifs


Lisa Reihana, 2021. Photo by Anna Briggs, courtesy of the Aotearoa New Zealand Festival of the Arts

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