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Lorene Taurerewa, Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia 2010

Lorene Taurerewa | New Zealand | Psychopompe (detail) (from `Psychopompe' series) 2008 | Pen and ink on mylar 20 sheets: 30.5 x 23cm (each) | Purchased 2008. The Queensland Government's Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Lorene Taurerewa’s works evoke feelings of uncanniness or strangeness in relatively familiar settings. Taurerewa uses an emotive visual language to draw on her ancestral inheritance, Aesop’s fables, Grimm’s fairytales and Jungian tropes, culminating in a visual code that both fascinates and repels.

Psychopompos (from Greek) means a ‘guide of souls’, and refers to a spiritual being, often animal in form, who shepherds the recently departed from this life to the next. In the psychoanalytic terminology of Carl Jung, the ‘psychopomp’ mediates our conscious and unconscious realms. In Aesop’s allegories, animal characters reflected human traits in order to illustrate moral lessons. Taurerewa’s cast of animals likewise appear to escort human protagonists to unknown places.

Taurerewa’s drawings are delicate and intuitive, and their ephemeral nature is heightened by their translucent plastic background. Here, Taurewara draws on her study of traditional Chinese brush-and-ink painting, and its key concept of the void or emptiness. Dark and otherworldly, Psychopompe appears to exist outside time, emerging instead as the not-quite-controllable creations of psychological realms.

Unnerved: Curators Essay - Maud Page

All images © Lorene Taurerewa
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