Mystery Plays

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Satellite Gallery are currently exhibiting a show from artist Link Choi entitled Mystery Plays.

According to the blurb: “Link takes classic legends, bible stories and fables and re-enterprets them in contemporary form.” Now this is totally unfair, so I’ll get it out of the way first: Link? Legends? All I can think of is Nintendo games. Sorry.

But having said that, Link Choi is a graphic artist who takes iconic images from religious stories that we are all familiar with (although I might be a bit behind everyone else - my Mum took me out of Bible studies at primary after I came home from school one day and told her that God lived in the Carrington mental hospital), and reimagines them, giving them to us filtered through his own particular voice. Some of these are certainly striking – the image of Christ at the Pillar, hands bound, Guantanamo-esqe bag over his head, had the combined powers of the epic classics and the evening news at its most bleak.

Subject matter aside, Choi’s images are strikingly beautiful. His control of lighting and his limited palette are very pretty, and give the pictures that drama that the classics should have, even if you don’t recognise the source material.
Another of Choi’s strengths is in the faces of his characters. There is an expressiveness in them that counters the sometimes bare settings of the works. His depiction of Samson reminds me of old Punch cartoons, and this is in no way a bad thing.

Call me old-fashioned but I felt that Choi’s work was a little let down by being digital prints. His method of working is a combination of traditional and digital media, and I’m fine with that (I’m not a purist, and I am a Dave McKean fan). But what he achieves in these pieces could have been done just as well by hand, in pastels or paint or a mix of various media, and would be that much more striking for it, for being real. Being digital prints just seemed to weaken the impact of the work, for me at least. I dunno. Maybe this is the grumpy slipper-wearing technophobe talking. And what’s with the music these kids are listening to grumble grumble etc...

Along with Choi’s work Satellite are currently displaying some by Amanda A’Hara. These are pieces of embroidery on felt that hark back to a spinster aunt’s cross-stitch, except that they’re also like medical diagrams. Very strange. My favourites were How To Faint (a & b), which were as descriptive as they sound.

All of it’s worth a look. The show runs until the 18th of April, go see.

Mystery Plays
Link Choi

Satellite Gallery
Cnr Saint Benedicts St and Newton Rd
Auckland

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