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b. 1945, Australia

Mike Parr Biography

One of Australia’s most challenging artists, Mike Parr’s oeuvre considers the complex relationship between the representation of values and experience and the authority of such representation. Parr initially studied law and arts at Queensland University (1965) before attending the National Art School in Sydney (1968).

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In 1970, he helped to found the Inhibodress artists’ collective which focussed on performance, installation and film. Parr’s performance work had often tested boundaries. For example, in 2000 his lips were sown together as a gesture of solidarity with refugees in Australian detention camps (Close the Concentration Camps). The vitality of his practice has seen him work across a range of media including sculpture, etching, painting and photography. However, his modernist, expressive and spontaneous prints and paintings raise questions about the politics of representation rather than offer the philosophical certainties of Abstract Expressionism.  

Parr has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally. His work was included in the 12th Biennale of Sydney and a major survey of his prints was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2005-06). and has been represented in important exhibitions in Brazil, Cuba, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States. In 2005, the Newcastle Region Art Gallery held the survey exhibition, CUT YOUR THROAT AN INCH AT A TIME: A Survey of the Works of Mike Parr 1970–2005, including thirty major works, a site-specific live performance and new sculptural installation.

In 2005–06, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, exhibited a major survey of Parr’s prints, while also representing his work in its exhibition of international contemporary self-portraits; confirming his position as one of Australia’s most important and challenging artists. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane.

Mike Parr Recent Exhibitions

Mike Parr In Ocula Magazine

Mike Parr In Related Press

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Art in the dark: Dark Mofo Related Press Art in the dark: Dark Mofo 17 June 2019, Art Guide Australia

Now in its seventh year, Dark Mofo transforms Hobart into a red-hued spectacle of art, food and music. In addition to new Mona exhibitions Mine by Simon Denny, Siloam, Gorillas in Our Midst, and Kirsha Kaechele's Eat the Problem, Dark Mofo's 2019 program pushes a hefty dose of visual art into the nooks and vacant spaces of Hobart's CBD.

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Provocative Australian artist Mike Parr at National Gallery of Australia Related Press Provocative Australian artist Mike Parr at National Gallery of Australia 4 July 2016, Art Radar Journal

Mike Parr’s diverse practice in performance and self-portraits will be exhibited together for the first time in an exhibition organised by The National Gallery of Australia, Mike Parr Foreign Looking, displayed across nine galleries from 12 August to 6 November 2016. Mike Parr: Foreign Looking  is the first exhibition to span Mike...

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Biennale of Sydney: 'The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed' Related Press Biennale of Sydney: 'The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed' 24 March 2016, Wallpaper

At the 20th Biennale of Sydney, guest artistic director Stephanie Rosenthal – chief curator at London’s Hayward Gallery – addresses the urgency for reaction to and reflection upon our current place in time. She has assembled 83 international artists from 35 countries to exhibit, perform and spark debate across seven venues, or...

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Biennale of Sydney 2016: Mike Parr threatens to perform in an 'extreme way' Related Press Biennale of Sydney 2016: Mike Parr threatens to perform in an 'extreme way' 17 March 2016, The Sydney Morning Herald

Mike Parr's history of self-mutilation stretches back decades. He has cut, pierced and burnt his body, hammered his arm to the wall of a gallery and had his face stitched up in protest against the treatment of asylum seekers. Parr's threat to perform "in a fairly kind of extreme way, in a violating way" at the opening of...

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Mike Parr In Video & Audio

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