Archive | March 2007

Hard to get

31 March 2007

The New Zealanders Mark & Chin Chye own a gallery in Hong Kong and via email they let me know they were charmed by my work.
As far as possible by the internet, I did a thorough digital ‘investigation’ and there seems to be no hoax-alert. The space looks large and the gallery seems to be focused on sculptures and of course I will be only one of many, but it is a city of 8 million people on a few square meters. And certainly not all penniless.
Next week the couple is in New Zealand and possibly we could organize a meeting.
Before however, I shall briefly gauge their ‘attitude’ to my new policy. For example; a commission of 50% is really too much for me. Because recently I wrote here -right on this blog- that I was thinking to quit to deal with galleries.
Now you need to know that some principles are born to be thrown overboard, but to throw myself right in the arms of the first popping up ‘new Fisher’ … is a bit objectionable too, isn’t it?

So, I wrote the Hong Kong people about a few points we needed to talk about, with the negotiating commission as the most important issue. They wrote back that there is room for negotiation about everything and they wanted to meet me as their schedule permits (next week).
Once I was a gallery-owner myself and those days I couldn’t help to handle from the view of the artist.
In any case, it is unprecedented that the Hong Kong people will insure┬ámy artworks and the costs for shipment on their behalf. That’s promising!

hard to getAnd about the ongoing contests and awards … I had sent an image of Populus Flucta to the Norse Wear in Napier. But today I received a letter that it was unselected.


19 March 2007 (New Zealand)

Because all the highlights of New Zealand are located far away from each other, every tiny collection of rusty old things or every better designed garden, immediately is touted as THE centerpiece of the day in the info-guides.
Sometimes these highlights can be somewhat disappointing for tourists who are used to a much higher degree of amusement. However a few go-getting entrepreneurs are trying to brush this up with Bungee jumping and Zorbas to adrenalinazing the face of New Zealand, you better stay away if you just love the polished perfection of Disney World.
I love Disney at times, but I also appreciate the New Zealander who tries to make something out of nothing, without being bothered by the expectations of the spoiled tourist. Or even don’t have a fainted idea of what those expectations may be.
Above all New Zealand is famous for its breathtaking scenery, but did you know that nature is also quite boring? Magical and incredibly beautiful, but if you are not susceptible to a lot of shades of green, you won’t survive the boredom. Just like that dreadful Lord of the Rings.
Frankly, I find New Zealand personally a great place to live, but for that fairy tale feeling I more need pictures of the Far East. But you better do not live in a fairy tale, because then where do you have to go on vacation?
Together with Frank’s parents we slowly have been driven to Wellington in our car. Wellington is located at the lower tip of the North Island. After 1 week Frank and I went back to Whakatane by plane and the parents booked the ferry to explore the South Island.
But now, what were the highlights of our little trip?

The first stop was the Waitomo Caves, or the glow-worm caves. You can see the glow worms hanging on the slimy ceilings of the caves, while you are sitting in a boat sailing through small waters. Frank and I already had seen them on our first trip in 2003, so we stayed in our hotel and let the parents do the event. That didn’t matter because that morning we had seen the most fantastic stalagmite in the world. A long time ago the concierge of the hotel had created a huge yellow/brown/grayish sculpture of silicone sealant, right in the corner of our bathroom! Over the years it had gotten a glossy patina of mucus and that had attracted a variety of pubic hairs.
I’m sorry I didn’t think to use my camera at that moment of discovering.

Mount Ruapehu is a high snowy volcano. At the foot, in the village of Ohakune they sell skis. There wasn’t much to do, but it was so quiet and peaceful. An atmosphere like in your childhood days on a warm autumn day when you played truant, and there was no one else on the street.
In Whanganui something happened to me of what every superficial woman is hoping for … a rival fellow woman recognized me wearing the only piece of designer clothing I own!!! Only sold in New York and Los Angeles (and Tauranga), for the price of a decent used moped. I was proud! I had bought it prior to the first art contest, at the time that I was still confident of winning. Anticipating the series of speeches I should have to do on stage. Haha.
Sad, isn’t it? But the contest attempts aren’t over yet.

Wellington itself was a city like so many other cities. The highlight was the botanical garden with a small fish pond in a greenhouse. I stuck my finger in the pond and left it there for a good ten minutes to let it be kissed by a few dozens of fish. That mentally excited me to such heights, that at night I ordered the second bottle of beer in my life. The first was in 1982.

Marae part 1

3 March 2007

Two weeks ago Frank’s parents arrived at the airport for their second visit to new Zealand. After they had stayed with us for only 1 day, they had to return to the Netherlands because mum’s brother was suddenly deceased.

One week ago we visited a marae. We were the only white people. Our friend Gina is a maori lady and she was keen to show us ‘her’ marae. She had this special date in mind because on that particularly day a group of students would practice an official ritual to welcome foreigners and for their first trial they wanted us playing (being) the foreigners (together with a number of visitors who were Maori descent). “Having scary whites in the audience would make the test-ritual more real”, she said, full of humour as Gina is.



The welcome is accompanied by spoken recitation and singing. We didn’t understand anything of the words because it happened in their own language, but Gina whispered what was said. Such as: “Now the 2 missing guests are mentioned, because they had to bury their brother.”
Gosh, I was impressed that they compassionately included Frank’s parents in their speech …

Maori rituals are not really comparable to those we know from a church. The Maori culture is not strictly a religion, but more a kind of preservation of their history. Through song, stories and dances their knowledge is transferred to the next generation; especially knowledge of their extensive network of origin. Where most nations worship their gods, Maoris worship their ancestors. They have great respect for the chain of generations going back to the time we were able to save our asses with a bat.

MaraeMaraeWith that in mind I suddenly began to worry about their opinion on deliberate childlessness. My ego to interrupt a million years old chain with my own interfere! Maybe they could see it to me. And they will eat me … “As it is not admitted in so many words; there are the people thrown into a cooking pot back then, when New Zealand was still called Aotearoa”, Gina cackled diabolically.

After the boring (not understood spoken) part of about 45 minutes, the hosts stood in queue like as at a reception. The guests had to walk along the line to shake hands or press noses. I think about half of the approximately 30 hosts dared to give me a nose. The purpose of the nose press is that you take in a collective breath.

Then everyone went to a larger building next to the marae. There were long tables with food. Now I clearly could estimate how many people were there. Perhaps 200. Everyone was talking and directly started to eat. Meanwhile, the group of students performed a dance that looked a little less formal. They were not wearing the grass skirts that you see at the tourist Maori feasts.
MaraeMarae part 1The whole event seemed to have no ‘leadership’, but it seemed like a well-oiled machine. After dinner there was a group of ladies in the large kitchen doing the dishes and we’re going to help. Hoping they wouldn’ t throw us in the freezer for the next time. We and the Maori’s made jokes and fun about the common prejudices and they were absolutely not offended.