Wednesday, 12 May 2021

The Dark is Light Enough Ralph Hotere by Vincent O'Sullivan


If you aren't into New Zealand art this book probably won't interest you.  It is a biography of Ralph Hotere which is notable for the quality of its writing and the fact that there are no illustrations of his art.


The reason for this is not explained.  The artist himself asked the author to do it and presumably intended him to be able to include some works but it was finished after his death so maybe other obstacles came up.


But Hotere's life was so interesting and the book illuminates what drove him.


He came from a large Maori family in the rural Far North.  He moved to Auckland.  He then went to Europe with his wife– not very successfully in art terms.


He became famous after basing himself in Port Chalmers – in the South Island.  He never explained his art – and was incensed when intellectual snobs tried to put labels on it.


The artist was famously non-confrontational and would just slope off.  His personal life was complicated… read it to see how.

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