Peter Roche delivered his first performance since 2008 at The Ambassador Theatre in Point Chevalier, Auckland, last month. The event coincided with the launch of the artist’s new website
that features an extensive archive of Roche’s work and 24 hour access (via four different cameras) into the artist’s studio. Keep an eye out for footage of his surprisingly elegant chainsaw wrangling ritual. Coming soon…
Peter Roche in action...
Peter Roche’s work isn’t seen as often as it should be. Since his inclusion in the first Asia Pacific Triennial in 1993, he has rarely appeared in curated exhibitions, despite an established background in New Zealand as a performance artist and sculptor.
Roche continues to make work regardless. His studio in Point Chevalier contains, among other things, an entire series of acid-etched light boxes with the artist cast problematically as nude/voyeur, an installation of rotating cloud shapes, and, of course, his satellite dishes, awash with imagery that runs from the decorative to the debauched.
Generously, the artist is opening his studio to the public for one night only next Thursday the 26th of August. Amidst a hang of key works and installations, Roche will also be performing. Notorious for his sado-masochistic rituals in the ’70s, this new performance will involve fluorescent tubing and a chainsaw. Not to be missed.
Peter Roche, Slipstreaming, Thursday 26 August, Ambassador Theatre, 1218-1220 Great North Road, Point Chevalier, Auckland, 6pm til late.
Leg of Lamb is a big fan of Peter Roche so it’s exciting to see his work included in a group exhibition at the artist’s lair in Point Chevalier, Auckland. Head along to witness kinetic sculpture, film and ‘live art’.
Original Orifice at The Ambassador Bar, Great North Road, Auckland, 3pm to 2am, Saturday March 20.
During a recent trip to Auckland, Leg of Lamb visited the studio of kiwi artist Peter Roche, the inhabitant of the old Ambassador theatre in Point Chevalier. Re-fitted by renowned architect Noel Lane, the artist’s home contains a fully equipped bar that also serves as Auckland’s wildest rock ‘n’ roll venue.
Roche etched out his career in the ’70s, conducting extreme, sado-masochistic performances in which he cut himself with razor blades, wrapped ox tongues around his head, performed enemas and, notoriously, had sheep’s kidneys grafted to his body.
Roche’s “go hard ya fukers” attitude is equally apparent in more recent kinetic sculptures and acid flung satellite dishes that convey debauched scenes including – among other things – projectile vomiting, dismemberment, splayed legs and a unicorn involved in ‘watersports’.
The elegance and restraint of Roche’s new work marks a departure from the rock ‘n’ roll exuberance of earlier projects. He rejects the hard and fast in favour of subtle rhythms articulated by luminous fluorescent tubes. Bought in bulk, the tubes lie piled Don Driver-like in shopping carts. Or, punctuated by bursts of colour, they dance across walls (Wave, 2-Tone Tango + Blue) and onto the floor (Flap).
Roche is an artist who thinks big. He recently created a massive neon installation for Alan Gibb’s sculpture park in the Kaipara. He has a 20 metre, $5 million kinetic sculpture called Twister in the pipeline. The beauty of Roche’s new works is that their scale is confined only for the sake of convenience. Pieces like Stream and Wave have the potential to be installed ad infinitum.
Outside of The Ambassador, it’s hard to see Peter’s work these days. It is not often found in public institutions or curated exhibitions, perhaps on account of the artist’s admirably uncensored artistic vision (last year one prominent Auckland dealer rejected a proposed show of lightboxes on account of their subject matter; nude self portraits complete with raging erections). Peter Roche always dances to his own tune.