Lucien Rizos

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Media Release: May, 2005. 

Lucien Rizos’s living room in suburban Wellington is a laboratory where artistic formulae are developed and tested. On the north-facing wall of his living room Rizos arranges and rearranges photographs, drawings, photocopies and other materials. Rizos’s solo exhibition project, … where I find myself, sees this wall transplanted into the main area of the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery.

For the past two decades, Rizos’s living room wall has been his way of thinking over and engaging with photography in its many guises: at times he has rephotographed famous images by photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson and cut out nondescript details from the backgrounds of famous images. Inspired by Robert Frank, he has taken photographs from speeding cars or while standing on street corners.

Rizos’s ‘private’ career as a photographer exists side by side with his ‘public’ career as a violinist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Rizos practises in his living room, facing the wall on which his photographs are pinned. While Rizos’s musical career is predicated on discipline, rigor and technique, his approach to photography and other art-making is characterised by relentless curiosity, experimentation and an at times anarchic spirit. Yet while Rizos’s installation is full of surprising juxtapositions and unusual contrasts, there are also discernible linkages and visual and verbal puns.

The smaller space of the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery contains another ‘wall’ of photographs, this time drawing on snapshots and portraits Rizos has gathered from the homes of his family. Like his work in the main gallery space, the ‘family room’ is also rich in echoes and reiterations: people disappear and reappear, family resemblances emerge, Europe merges with New Zealand.

…where I find myself is not so much about the differences between two kinds of photography – the family snapshot and the image taken for ‘artistic’ purposes – as about the dialogue that exists between them. The exhibition is a conversation between the two rooms in the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery, neither of which is, as the artist says, ‘exactly public or private’.

Lucien Rizos was born in Wellington in 1953. Although he has been taking photographs for many years and has amassed a vast body of work (much of which is housed in the National Library archives), he seldom shows his work. Rizos currently lives in Hataitai and has been an orchestral violinist in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra since 1974.

Lucien Rizos … where I find myself 

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery at City Gallery Wellington 

20 May – 19 June 2005

Free entry, open every day 10am to 5pm.