Ronnie van Hout: I've Seen Things
07 Jul – 11 Nov 2012
"We borrow experiences, every day we borrow experiences and include them in our own... it's an ongoing process, you put a picture together, your past informs your present and future" —Art News New Zealand
Christchurch-born van Hout says as a child he would pass by the tall gates that hid the cult from the outside world. The cult's presence was widely recognised with suspicion and fear, and an unmistakable sense of intrigue.
"It's about this idea of being inside and outside ... there was always a mystery and this idea of being excluded and that being your own society was frowned upon and people were scared of it and afraid of it."
Van Hout can usually be found front and centre stage in his work, the artist offers us endless versions of his own self in the form of models, stand-ins, duplications and distortions. In I've Seen Things, he inserts himself within a bigger historical narrative; that of Canterbury's The Full Gospel Mission, or the 'God Squad', as they were commonly known. A religious cult based around Christchurch from the 1970s through to their disbandment in 2002, I've Seen Things documents their story, one already filtered through rumour, scandal and intrigue, as a tale of downfall.
The title of the show is taken from a scene in the sci-fi film Blade Runner. Set in a futuristic Los Angeles in 2019, Blade Runner examines memory and identity, asking, what does it take to be human? I've Seen Things places Blade Runner in a larger plot that mines real and fictional stories, with the artist himself inserted into the heart of the tale.
Ronnie van Hout has worked with a wide variety of media including sculpture, video, painting, photography, embroidery and sound recordings.