b. 1981, Australia

Tony Albert Biography

Tony Albert’s art practice interrogates contemporary legacies of colonialism in a way that prompts the audience to contemplate elemental aspects of the human condition. Mining imagery and source material from across the globe and drawing upon personal and collective histories, Albert questions how we understand, imagine and construct difference. Certain political themes and visual motifs resurface across his oeuvre, including thematic representations of the ‘outsider’ and the target motif of concentric circles.

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Albert’s technique is distinctly contemporary, displacing traditional Australian Aboriginal aesthetics with a kind of urban conceptuality. Weaving together text appropriated from popular music, film, fiction, and art history, along with clichéd images of extraterrestrials, photographs of his family in Lucha Libre, and an immense collection of “Aboriginalia” (a term the artist coined to describe kitschy objects and images that feature naive portrayals of Aboriginality), the artist presents a tapestry of ideas that makes us question the flimsy line that inscribes and ascribes ‘difference.’ Albert has exhibited his work at many international venues, including the Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux, France; the Singapore Art Museum; the National Museum of China, Beijing; and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel. He was also included in the 10th Biennial of Havana, Cuba, and the 2014 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Dark Heart.

In 2014 he won both the $100,000 Basil Sellers Art Prize and the prestigious $50,000 Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award. He is also well represented in exhibitions and collections of institutions within Australia, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art—Queensland Art Gallery.

In 2013 Albert was commissioned to create an artwork for the Hyde Park War Memorial, which will be installed in Hyde Park South by Anzac Day 2015 to commemorate indigenous soldiers.

Text courtesy Sullivan + Strumpf.

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