Work: The White Cloud
Size: 7000mm X 1400mm x 950mm
Filipe Tohi was born in Ngele'ia, Nuku'alofa, Tonga, and immigrated to New Zealand in 1978. Tohi is a tufuga lalava, an expert in the Tongan art of binding with Coconut sennit.
Tohi's sculpture titled 'The White Cloud' takes on the high priests of international geometric abstraction, such as Francois Morellet and Sol Le Witt. Tohi exhibited with these two canons of twentieth century art in a three person exhibition in Lyon, France in the early 2000's.
Tohi became good friends with Morellet, exchanging artworks and shared a natural affinity for the mathematical sublime and minimalist art.
The mathematical sublime is a feeling of the sublime which we experience when we encounter something overwhelming in size. An aesthetic estimation of size, says Immanuel Kant, is something that occurs "in mere intuition (measured by eye)".
Similarly to Morellet, Tohi adopted a pictorial language of simple geometric forms; lines, squares and triangles assembled into three-dimensional compositions. Tohi also shares a particular affinity to the American 'light and space' artists Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella and John McLaughlin.
The White Cloud invites the viewer into the artists own deep perception, which provokes introspection and therefore a greater understanding of one's relationship to nature.
In Filipe Tohi's art practise he has created a technique called 'Haupuha'. Haupuha is the transferring of traditional Haukafa patterns to create a form that explores volume with illusion and lines. These forms represent female and male binding patterns which are used within a pattern called Fakalava. This translates into cross combination. So there is either a female, Fakalava Fefine or a male, Fakalava Tangata.
The three dimensional sculptural interpretation of this is called 'Haukamea'. This is another instance where Tohi wants to encourage interaction with patterns and this should be viewed from a variety of locations so as to see all possible angles.
Tohi is featured is a featured artist in the 'Tangata O Le Moana', Pacific Peoples in New Zealand exhibition at the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington.