The Plateau is an extensive stretch of elevated and comparatively levelled land. It is an environment changed by man-made and natural forces. In this exhibition of new paintings by John Pule, the Plateau is an internal concept. Here it is used here as a metaphor for land altered by memories of the human spirit. It is land often stumbled upon after years sometimes decades of searching. It is as if Pule asks: What do you see once you find that land? What do you know afterwards? What are you looking for?
For Pule “Polynesian Memory is in the process of enucleating the past as shifts into the present. Extracting memories without cutting away the capillaries that bind memories to the membranous sac, as uprooting a plant and replanting it elsewhere, without causing too much damage to the roots. It is also a metaphor for the natural surgical removal of pito*, and again when a developed entity from that pito emigrates to live on another man's land, another country.”
In his use of blue Pule references the phenomena that is Oceania. It is the colour of the sea, which must be crossed to seek other lands; blue is the sky that we must also travel under or close proximity to. It is between these two spheres, according to Pule, that the desire to know is given to us, intravenously.
The Blue Plateau of Polynesian memory comprises eight paintings and poems on paper. The ten poems, chosen by the artist from his own published collections, is central to his practice and the basis for his research into personal history. The poems are hand written in blue ink, encapsulating poetically the themes of the exhibition: blue, plateau, Polynesian, Memory.
* pito is the Polynesian word for placenta.