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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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Diana Campbell Betancourt Ocula Conversation Diana Campbell Betancourt

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...

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Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Ocula Report Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Mar 2019 : Mike Pinnington for Ocula

China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...

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Brook Andrew

b. 1970, Australia

Since the 1990s, Brook Andrew has worked with archives and collections to address themes of colonialism, historical amnesia and indigenous cultures. Of Wiradjuri and Scottish ancestry, the artist's interests in forgotten histories began as a child, when he wondered why popular Australian culture seemed uninterested in representing his Aboriginal heritage. Using multimedia creations as conduits to revisit the past, Andrew offers alternatives to dominant Western readings of the world.

Many of Andrew's works incorporate 19th- and early 20th-century photographs of indigenous peoples, as can be seen in his 1996 piece Sexy and dangerous. For the work, Andrew enlarged a small found portrait of an unnamed Djabugay man from North Queensland to larger-than-life size, emphasising the figure's authority in the process. At the same time, Andrew exaggerated the man's body markings so they appear to segment his body into pieces, alluding to the historical erasure of Aboriginal people in Australia. The conflicting descriptions 'sexy and dangerous' in English and 'female cunning' in Chinese are written across the man's chest, further referencing the fact that colonial photographers habitually neglected to record their sitters' individual identities. Through images that directly address the colonial past, Andrew brings forgotten people and their stories to light.

Andrew's concerns with disrupting conventional narratives and advancing invisible histories continued in 52 Portraits (2013), a solo exhibition at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne. The show featured 52 multimedia portraits of anonymous individuals from Africa, Argentina, Ivory Coast, Syria, Sudan, Japan and Australia. By borrowing the title from anatomist Richard Berry's 1909 book Transactions of the Royal Society of Victoria—Volume V of which included 'Fifty-two Tasmania Crania'—Andrew confronted the practice of collecting Aboriginal skulls, which lasted into the early 20th century. Widely believed to be part of the most primitive race of the world and a 'dying species', the skulls of Tasmanian people were robbed from graves and studied by medical students. The images in the exhibition were based on 19th-century postcards Andrew had collected. Similar to the images he had used for Sexy and dangerous, the individuals' identities had long been lost.

In 2015, as part of the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8), Andrew presented Intervening Time. For the project, he removed colonial-era artworks from Queensland Art Gallery's Australian Collection Galleries in order to paint the walls with the traditional chevron patterns of the Wiradjuri people in deep red, blue and black. The artworks were then mostly returned to their original places in the galleries, along with the addition of six of Andrew's own works from his 2012 installation Time (2012), which includes enlarged archival photographs and considers the impact of European settlement across the world. By juxtaposing traditional Wiradjuri patterns and colonial works, Andrew reminded the viewer of the forgotten history of Aboriginal people and their existence in the contemporary Australian narrative. In a recent interview with Ocula, the artist explained that the motivation behind his foregrounding of marginalised narratives as 'alternate histories' stems from a desire to offer alternative interpretations to the traditionally demonized 'other', in his case the Aboriginal people of Australia.

Andrew's work continues to challenge established narratives. For the 21st Biennale of Sydney, he collaborated with four artists from various backgrounds to create What's Left Behind (2018), an installation that considers the idea of memory in objects. Consisting of five sculptures, serving as alternatives to the traditional museum vitrine, the work displayed artworks and objects from the collaborators' personal archives alongside items from the collection of Museum of Applied Art and Sciences (MAAS), Sydney. In juxtaposing personal and collection-based objects together, Andrew reveals how memory and individual stories imbue objects with meaning.

Unrestrained by discipline, Andrew also works as a curator. In 2012 he presented Taboo at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which featured works by Australian and international artists. Examining the range of taboos across different cultures, the exhibition also explored the idea of censorship. For another 2017 exhibition titled Ahy-kon-uh-klas-tik, Andrew visited the art collection at the Van Abbemuseum, Holland, to reconsider the Western art canons in relation to indigenous history. The title—the phonetic spelling of 'iconoclastic'—not only references Western dominance in the modern world but also the historical linguicide of Aboriginal languages in Australia. Against the walls painted in black and white stripes—a motif influenced by Aboriginal carving traditions—Andrew juxtaposed the works of prominent artists including Pablo Picasso, El Lissitzky, Gabriel Orozco, Nilbar Gures and Mike Kelley.

Andrew completed his studies at Western Sydney University (1993) and The University of New South Wales (1999). He has held solo and group exhibitions at major institutions, including Tate Britain (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2012); National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2011); and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (2007). His works were also part of the Biennale of Sydney (2018, 2010) and Shanghai Biennale (2012). In 2016 Andrew received a three-year Australian Research Council grant and produced Representation, Remembrance and the Memorial (www.rr.memorial), a project that responds to the calls for a national memorial to Aboriginal loss.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Mother Earth by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewMother Earth, 2019 archival material, oil stick and mixed media on di-bond
168 x 240 x 5 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Orange by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewOrange, 2019 Oil pastel, acrylic paint, paper, glue, wood and pencil
140 x 140 cm
Tolarno Galleries
System by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewSystem, 2019 Oil pastel, acrylic paint, paper, glue, wood and pencil
140 x 140 cm
Tolarno Galleries
Into the Fire by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewInto the Fire, 2019 Oil pastel, acrylic paint, paper, glue, wood and pencil
160 x 240 cm
Tolarno Galleries
White by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewWhite, 2019 Oil pastel, acrylic paint, paper, glue, wood and pencil. Two panels, each 140 x 140 cm
140 x 280 cm
Tolarno Galleries
Yellow by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewYellow, 2019 Oil pastel, acrylic paint, paper, glue, wood and pencil. Two panels, each 240 x 160 cm
240 x 320 cm
Tolarno Galleries
Rainbow across the world I by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewRainbow across the world I, 2018 neon, paper, acrylic paint, canvas, timber and dibond
240 x 160 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Rainbow across the world II by Brook Andrew contemporary artwork Brook AndrewRainbow across the world II, 2018 neon, paper, acrylic paint, canvas, timber and dibond
240 x 160 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Brook Andrew, La Razza: Quiet Noise at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Closed
16 February–16 March 2019 Brook Andrew La Razza: Quiet Noise Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Brook Andrew, Smash It at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Closed
8 March–7 April 2018 Brook Andrew Smash It Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, @50 Part 2 at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Closed
28 July–12 August 2017 Group Exhibition @50 Part 2 Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

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4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

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Brook Andrew Ocula Conversation
In partnership with The 21st Biennale of Sydney
Brook Andrew Artist, Australia

Australian artist Brook Andrew's practice often finds inspiration in institutional archives, but his intentions go beyond the archaeological: he is not primarily interested in discovering or documenting the past, but in 'un-cementing' history's hold on events, people and beliefs, and in doing so, freeing the discussions taking place today from that...

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Art Basil [sic] Ocula Report Art Basil [sic] 31 Mar 2016 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

I was Brainwashed the Friday before Art Basel Hong Kong kicked off. French street artist, Mr. Brainwash, was holding court—to an audience full of Hong Kong society types, complete with bodyguards, and media—with a spray can in a graffiti decorated shell-space in Lan Kwai Fong. It was one of several property developer-artist...

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APT8: A fragmenting vision of the future Ocula Report APT8: A fragmenting vision of the future 14 Dec 2015 : Susan Acret for Ocula

It is 16 years since I last visited an Asia Pacific Triennial and it is heartening to see that although APT8 is a very different beast from the ground-breaking APTs of the 1990s, this edition has stayed true to the triennial’s philosophy of interacting with the region’s artists in a sustained and very localised way. When the APT was...

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In Related Press

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Brook Andrew is the Artistic Director of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney Related Press Brook Andrew is the Artistic Director of the 22nd Biennale of Sydney Tolarno Galleries : 20 June 2018

Congratulations to Brook Andrew who has been appointed Artistic Director of the next Biennale of Sydney to be held in 2020.A participant in the 2018 and 2010 Biennales of Sydney, Brook Andrew will draw on curatorial experiences including his groundbreaking TABOO exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art in 2012.His distinguished 25-year career was...

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BROOK ANDREW ANNOUNCED AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR FOR 2020 BIENNALE OF SYDNEY Related Press BROOK ANDREW ANNOUNCED AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR FOR 2020 BIENNALE OF SYDNEY ArtAsiaPacific : 19 June 2018

On June 19, the Biennale of Sydney (BoS) named Melbourne-based multidisciplinary artist Brook Andrew the artistic director of its 22nd edition, slated to open in 2020.The artistic director of the 21st BoS, Mami Kataoka—who is chief curator of the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo—was the first Asian to assume the mantle in BoS's 45-year...

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Mami Kataoka's highlights for the 21st Biennale of Sydney Related Press Mami Kataoka's highlights for the 21st Biennale of Sydney ArtsHub : 1 March 2018

When a biennale or a triennial hits the headlines the first statistic to be published is the roll call of artists: '...70 artists and artists collectives from 35 countries presented across 7 exhibition venues'. It is a mantra that celebrates the broadest inclusion, but Mami Kataoka, Artistic Director of the 21st Biennale of Sydney, is more...

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MAD LOVE Related Press MAD LOVE ArtAsiaPacific : 7 September 2017

"Body as pleasure. Body as machine. Body longing, always longing. Hungry body, filthy body." That was the premise formulated by artist and curator Del Kathryn Barton for the group show Mad Love at Berlin's Arndt Art Agency. The Australian contemporary art show focused on nine artistic approaches to the physical and emotional boundaries of...

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