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MONASH UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART 4 April – 23 June 2007, Melbourne Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest 18 August – 14 October 2007, Sydney The John Curtin Gallery Curtin University of Technology 4 April - 30 May 2008, Perth

MUMA acknowledges the support of the Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Sydney; and the John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, as presenting partners in the development of this exhibition.


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Front cover: I split your gaze (detail) 1997 Back cover: YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOBEBLACK (white friend) (detail) 2006 Page 1: I split your gaze 1997 Page 2: Parrot 2006 Page 4: YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOBEBLACK (white friend) 2006 Page 6: Sexy & dangerous II 1996 Page 7: Sexy & dangerous I 1996 4

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Brook Andrew is an artist whose work encompasses photography and installation, as well as interventions in the realms of architecture, the museum, public art and landscape design. Deftly connecting aesthetics and polemics, Andrew creates striking and insightful works which neatly, beautifully, encapsulate complex conceptual and theoretical questions which emerge from lived experience. A recent work in Lithuania exemplifies the intricacy and concision in Brook Andrew’s work: a neon sign reads, or translates as, ‘you’vealwayswan tedtobeblack (white friend)’. The iridescent neon letters project a pulsating, gaseous light into the space of the viewer. They are superimposed upon a black and white wall painting, with a motif based on a traditional Wiradjuri design, but equally recalling the vertigo inducing opticality of Bridget Riley. In this apparently simple choreography of text and image, we begin to see the complexity and beauty at the heart of Brook Andrew’s work – in the poetics of space and public address, the spectacle of light and sight, in the echo of memory and the pressure of historical consciousness. Reflecting equally on global mass media and traditional grassroots aesthetics, Brook Andrew’s work asks us to consider the construction of history and power, identity and invisibility; in black,

white, and many shades of grey. Covering the scope of the artist’s practice over the past decade, Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye interrogates the politics of difference and, closely entwined, the implications of ‘the gaze’. Eye to eye, across land and cultures, Andrew’s work explores the promising yet fractured grounds of intercultural engagement. Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye continues MUMA’s longstanding series of exhibitions surveying the work of significant contemporary Australian artists. The exhibition was initiated and developed by MUMA’s Curator, Geraldine Barlow, who has worked closely with the artist, with careful and passionate commitment, structuring the exhibition around ideas of reflection, the gaze and polemics, whilst also reminding us that the unknown is as much a presence as the known in Brook Andrew’s work. We are also grateful to the catalogue contributors – Anne Loxley, Associate Professor Nikos Papastergiadis and Professor Lynette Russell – for their insightful new texts which identify Brook Andrew’s powerful counter narratives, his questioning of attitudes related to identity and language, and the play between nature and culture, the real and represented, resulting, as Lynette Russell has suggested, in ‘images which transcend nature only to reinstate its power’. Special thanks are due to Assistant Curator Kirrily Hammond who has overseen the development of all aspects of the

project, and to MUMA’s small but talented staff, volunteers and installation crew. Brook Andrew has also been assisted by Elina Spilia and Trent Walter, to whom we are also grateful. We are very pleased that the exhibition will travel to Sydney and Perth, and especially welcome the involvement of Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest and the John Curtin Gallery as presenting partners of the exhibition. At Penrith, the exhibition will be presented in the region and community in which the artist grew up, with Anne Loxley and John Kirkman, both of whom have a longstanding commitment to the artist’s work. We are equally pleased to present the exhibition in partnership with Curtin University, and Foto Freo, and thank our colleague Professor Ted Snell for his enthusiasm in the development of the project. MUMA would also like to thank the lenders, and Jan Minchin at Tolarno Galleries, for their support in the development of the exhibition. It has been a privilege to work with Brook Andrew on the development of this project. MUMA extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to the artist for his inspiring work and challenging ideas which have been a great stimulus to all at the museum, and we look forward to the wider public reception that his work well deserves. Max Delany Director, MUMA


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CONTENTS Max Delany, Foreword 5 Exhibition installation views 8 Nikos Papastergiadis, Marianne Riphagen and Brook Andrew, Crossed Territories: Indigenous Cosmopolitan 14 Geraldine Barlow, Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye 30 Anne Loxley, Flashing and Smashing: the Art of Brook Andrew 52 Lynette Russell, Replicant: Owl, Parrot, Possum, Flying Fox 68 Biography/Bibliography 81 List of works 83 Acknowledgements 84 Publisher’s notes 86


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CROSSED TERRITORIES: INDIGENOUS COSMOPOLITAN The following text is based on a series of conversations, held from August 2006 to March 2007, initially between the social anthropologist Marianne Riphagen and cultural theorist Nikos Papastergiadis, and later with Brook Andrew, in the context of the artist’s studio. Marianne Riphagen: Brook Andrew’s Sexy and Dangerous 1996 has become an icon in Australian art, in what ways does it still speak to us? Brook Andrew: Sexy and Dangerous was based on the first ethnographic photo I had ever seen. I found this photo at the Mitchell library. I was a young artist trying to look at our history. It was about creating an image, getting it out there and looking at us as Australians. It was also about Tiananmen Square and our relationship to that. Our engagement in the Asia-Pacific area. Nikos Papastergiadis: I was always struck by the combination of what I assume to be Chinese script and the English script ‘Sexy and Dangerous’. It asserts immediately that Aboriginal culture was never in isolation of the world. The Northern parts of Australia did have regular contact with the Macassan traders. The scar marks are very powerful as well. While that was seen as an initiation, in this instance, because it is so exaggerated, they represent elements of violation; the scratching back through the photographic medium accentuates the violation. As we look up to the face, this piercing of the nose and the head-gear is a very exotic and very sexy, powerful evocation. It contains both claims about historical migration and trading relations with other parts of the world. As an image it picks up symbols that were consistent in one culture, scarring, but then extends them to make a further comment about their place in the world after colonialism, and in particular the fantasies of primitivism that were part of colonialism. Even the considerable scale of the image intensifies the confrontational quality of the gaze. Again it shows this tension and juxtaposition between something that is primitive / exotic and something that is confrontational / powerful. MR: Nikos, what are your personal ideas about why this particular image has become so iconic? NP: Well, I think it is because of the way in which it distils all these elements together. In a single

image it combines both the exotic and the political; the historical and the geographic. It combines so many elements into a single image that in a sense it helps us focus, and that is what an icon does, it helps focus attention through a body. And the body becomes representative of a whole set of spiritual, cultural and political values: Che Guevara, Jesus Christ. They are icons because their gaze, their bodies, the stigmata on Christ, those dreamy eyes of Che Guevara, they represent suffering and hope. So it is that capacity to combine struggle with optimism of the will that makes an image iconic usually. I think this image has those elements within it. MR: In speaking about indigenous artists who articulate themselves within the medium of photography, most people emphasize the contemporary aspect of their work. What is the role of tradition in contemporary practice? NP: I am interested in tradition in the sense that most artists deal with the fullness of their history and their presence. They use their biographical details and historical consciousness as material. So, as they engage more deeply with their own history and as they investigate environmental, social and political forces that form their identity, they find powerful cross-currents that shape both their ideas of where they have come from (and by that I mean in a sense their tradition) and also where they are now (and by that of course I am referring to their place in the contemporary). By traditional, I don’t mean something that is locked and frozen in time, in the past. I mean tradition as a set of values that have informed the person over a long period of time and that have been passed across different generations and are constantly modified and enriched as they engage with these particular circumstances in time and place. So that idea of the traditional is a much more dynamic and open-ended process. I think a lot of artists, especially in the modernist period, were very suspicious and a little too abrupt in dispensing with tradition. Because tradition was seen as a locked container, as a source of superstition, and as a way of creating conformity in people. And the modernists, of course, wanted to achieve heightened states of individuality, autonomy and freedom. They felt a need to dispense with what they saw as the irrational, destructive and patriarchal forces that had shaped their histories. Therefore tradition was a code for oppressiveness. For many communities that is a


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studio shot The Man 2005 15

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big sacrifice.

mean that the art is bound to a specific place?

NP: I don’t think we can hold any fixed equation between locality and aesthetics. Brook is an artist who has travelled a lot. I don’t think each time he moves his whole style changes. What I think is more interesting than identifying the origin of Brook’s sense of place is the dialogue that he generates between a local place and other relationships that emerge through global public culture. An interesting feature of contemporary artists today is that they have a specific sense of place that they are quite fond of and deeply attached to, but they also feel that no matter how local their practice is, no matter how bound they are to a specific community, they The idea of tradition then in his work is a very complicated force. It’s a force which enables certain are also participating in a global debate about what culture is and what art is. I think in Brook’s case you possibilities to continue and to be redefined. It is also sometimes a subject addressed in its absence. have an example of an artist who says: ‘the fullness Tradition, not to be rejected, even if it only appears of my being is both indigenous and cosmopolitan. That doesn’t make it any less indigenous’. in this fragmentary, distorted and isolated way. BA: I think that, strategically, dominant cultures and So, what do you do with this materiality with all its histories make it difficult to locate the complexities holes? of other, less dominant cultures, so, when people From this perspective the traditional and the are represented in the context of those prevailing contemporary are not that far apart, they are cultures and histories, a singular and stereotypical dialectical, rather than oppositional. Artists around image appears. An interesting aspect of Western the world who have been exploring their own dominant culture today is the global reach of its cultural background have had to face this issue. fashion and music industries. Black peoples of the MR: To what extent does Brook’s practice Pacific, and those people of Sudanese origin now challenge the stereotypes about identities, cultures, living in Footscray now run and own American hipand art? hop clothing stores. The guys running these stores NP: In a sense stereotypes help to police the space look and act like American hip-hop dudes … on the of permissibility. And the use of the stereotype in one hand, it’s very cool and explodes any previous Brook’s practice breaks up any simple or singular stereotypes related to, for example, Sudanese understanding. That is another reason why an Australians, though it does reinforce the effect image like Sexy and Dangerous is so interesting. It the American hip-hop industry is having on global plays with so many different kinds of stereotypes, cultural self-esteem and global-brotherhood. but also ends up producing one image that An interesting effect of this global hip-hop culture cannot contain the types of expectations that is that it does tend to mix everything up a bit. For the stereotype normally holds. A stereotype of example Eminem t-shirts are worn by dudes in the Aboriginal art would normally connote primitive, Western Desert at Warburton. But things are more victim, isolation and possibly spiritual. Here you complex. As indigenous people of the world, we have all of those elements but also the elements of are all from totally different countries. In Australian mobility, of different languages, challenging power, for example we speak different languages. I also autonomy and resistance. So the tension undoes understand the claiming of identity: I was involved the very expectations that the stereotype normally in Boomalli, which was a strong movement and part tries to maintain and contain. of the politics of the late 1980s and ‘90s. I think in particular for Aboriginal artists there has been a strong consciousness of the way in which the past traditions continue in the present – although tradition has been violated and their historical, linguistic and cultural consciousness has in many senses been brutalized through the experience of colonialism, there is nevertheless a profound attachment to the surviving elements. And a serious investigation to recoup and to discover possibilities for reconnecting and revitalizing those elements that fulfil and enrich, extend their sense of self. I certainly think this is the case with Brook.

Brooks’s art promises to promote an alternative and multi-layered history and form of identity that insists: ‘I will prove that I can be more.’ In that sense a lot of this work is quite utopian. It is making claims which are unfulfillable in order to give hope. MR: Do you think that aesthetics are local, by this I

To contextualize things: I grew up to be close with my Aboriginal grandmother. But we didn’t have hip-hop or guitar players. We just ate great chicken soup, spent time diggin’ up pennies under the Mulberry tree, and the family gambled, playing Poker all day and all night. Later in my life,


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I remember my grandmother saying to me: ‘Brook, do not forget you also have Scottish ancestry. You have an Australian white ancestry, like all of us, you have mixed blood’. I really see myself as just another Australian with that richness. I was brought up with this background, and it has informed my practice. It is funny talking about this because I am not necessarily preoccupied by it all the time. I mean, I grew up with Madonna and Boy George, not Eminem or 50 Cent.

our cultural capital is so complex, formulated by so many different contemporary and traditional elements. All those things never disappear; they are always part of our consciousness. So when we confront an art work of course people confront it with some degree of prejudice. But we are also confronted with some degree of curiosity. Once that curiosity is enabled to be free, then the response to that work is wide open and unpredictable and incredibly interesting to track.

NP: We need to devise a much broader frame for understanding the art that is produced in Australia. Although there is now an awareness of the transnational context of cultural exchange, we should also remember the earlier flows across the seas and never simply assume that Australian culture fits neatly into its territory.

BA: When I was in Santiago recently for the South project, I interviewed a woman who looked exactly like my mother. She was walking across the road and I thought ‘my God, where has this woman come from?’ I felt so at home. We had this really nice conversation about family. I told her she looked like my mum and we had this great conversation about mixed heritage and also about history. It is weird, looking at someone who looks like your mum. And I missed my mum, so it was nice. She was talking about her doing yoga lessons, and tango, doing all these amazing things.

When you find connections to, for example, Auschwitz or to Latin American political struggles, or events in Cambodia, you are acknowledging that stories are mediated to us through history lessons or documentaries that form a kind of world history. You are just engaging with that part of the world that is the whole of your world. BA: Much of our cultural experience and understanding is mediated through television and other media, which frames our experiences of other cultures and other worlds. And in the same way, people reading my work as ‘about Aboriginal history’ is equally limiting, it is more accurate to think about ‘Australian history’. This is what the ‘history wars’ are about. That is why the exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, was called YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOB EBLACK 2006. Australians generally are still largely disconnected, unable to identify important cultural markers and absences. NP: I am also quite sceptical about the authenticity claims made by some people and the other claims that identity politics are now just another obsolete fashion statement, because I believe what they are doing is an aversion policy. They are demeaning the possibility for radical and individual interpretation that is possible for people who have come from different backgrounds. It presumes that a person’s background totally predetermines their response. In that sense I am more optimistic that your work has a life that is bigger than ever expected. In that sense I am different from [Pierre] Bourdieu because I think the possibilities for interplay between a person and art are not purely driven by class and cultural capital. Because

MR: How important or, even problematic, is identity as a curatorial category? NP: There is now a backlash against multiculturalism and indigenous rights. I think in the 1960s, ‘70s, and early ‘80s to some degree, there was a radical push to extend the field of political practice and cultural politics. To introduce debates about Aboriginal rights, gay rights, civil disobedience movements, ethnic rights, etc. That was seen as an important, liberating force at that time. But there was also an attempt in many ways to reform the nation-state. To see how the state should fairly and equitably deal with all its members. It was a way of saying to the state: you are the Daddy. You have the power to bring social justice in this society. Two things have happened since then. One is that the state in the form of people like Bush and Howard has said: OK, we have had enough of this difference talk. We want to go back to national core values, and close our borders. So the state in many ways is trying to reclaim its central authority and redefine the parameters around which it sees society should be built – the values upon which society should be organized. However at the same time economically, and in some ways politically, the state has said: we don’t want to fix everything, we don’t want to be the Daddy, and we want to privatise, deregulate, and make society more flexible. We want to make the 17

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space more open for transnational corporations. In that sense they say: we don’t want authority and responsibility. We want mobility. We want foreign income to come in here, in fact we are begging for it. We prostitute ourselves for that. But at the same time as they are doing this they are effectively undermining their own capacity to control the society. The state itself devolves its own power. When it tries to reclaim its power it does so in such a limited and constricted, anachronistic manner that minorities say: OK, you go and do it that way, we’ll find alternative ways of being in the world.

mainstream to say ‘we won’t take responsibility, we won’t enter that space because we are supposedly not allowed.’ Therefore they never have to properly engage with it. So it is mutually reinforcing isolation. Whereas what artists like Brook are suggesting is that from day one, you have experienced interaction with other people. That does not necessarily lead to dilution or the diminishment of each part in that process, it requires a more vital and vigorous exchange between all the parts.

advance, or as a sort of hospital bed upon which you put my art work because you think the art is coming from a position of trauma, of suffering, of displacement.’ So there was a reaction against the category of Aboriginal that precedes and predetermines the meaning and value of the art. What the artists resented was that the category used to package their art was both too small and limited the attention that it could get. Such categories filter your experience with the art work. So now there are artists who are making much stronger demands. Demanding that the viewer both recognises their identity but also approach the work with some degree of objectivity. The question of authenticity can come back to bite you in a way. It has certainly affected the way the art institutions are addressing categories of local versus universal value. It is also a convenient strategy for the

For a new, forthcoming series I went back there to find traumatic images, for example, there were images of Aboriginal people being scientifically studied. Photographers were employed to document the study of sexual behaviour, to document, I suppose, outdated colonial views of ‘primitive’ behaviour. These are the kinds of things I wanted to find. It is about putting back into Australian history the stuff that is missing or silenced. The images I am working on in this series are trying to somehow tap into already internationally identified ways of dealing with trauma, including the trauma of other events overseas.

BA: My process at the moment is to try and align Australian history with other histories that happen around the world. Stories of cultural diaspora, Alongside this contradictory relationship between the state and minorities is a new set of relationships whether about hip-hop or asylum seeking, due to war, environmental disaster and invasion, between the media and the experience of mobility are still either silenced, ignored or only recently in contemporary life. So people, while they are acknowledged. To think through the challenges sitting at home, are watching the news about what of working between cultures, or working interis happening in Lebanon. Not courtesy of ABC or culturally, and the protocols associated with that, SBS but courtesy of Syrian or Al Jazeera news, is inspiring and challenging. In many respects, or Greek or Italian satellite television. So their I try to make a connection between local and sense of where they are attached to the world has radically changed. That has created in a sense more global experiences, such as the role of portraiture in an effort to make visible people such as The diversification and more forms of segmentation in Disappeared in Argentina, or indigenous sports society. heroes who are sidelined in a Christian/Anglo/ This broader discussion relates to the general Western-dominated Australia. I am keen to tackle ambivalence of cultural identity. In the early 1980s the onslaught of racist slurs head-on. it was crucial for Aboriginal artists to insert and NP: Let’s talk about the role of historical trauma in strategically reclaim their Aboriginality. But now it your work. appears that we are at point in which artists are saying something like: ‘I want you as a viewer, as a BA: I have had a long relationship visiting the Royal Anthropological Institute in London. I find they member of the public, as a critic or commentator, are forward thinking people and the collections to not forget that I am Aboriginal but also not to are interesting, as is the way in which the Institute use that either as a category that enables you to acquired its collections and their histories. think that you know exactly what it is all about in

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dramatic effect and to explore the stretching of moral boundaries. I think in these images this glimmer of the mirror, and the translucent quality of the animal itself, have a similar effect of filtering the spirit. On the one hand they are suspended in their own bit of light, on the other hand they are completely surrounded by a real blackness, inky deep, that makes you question where they are coming from. BA: In the Kalar Midday series the blackness was about saturation and invisibility, of pushing pain and politics, all of that murky, oily kind of stuff, into the background. Even in kids’ cartoons or in manga the blackness is something that attaches to you. You know? The spooky blackness. I wanted to push all of that murkiness into that blackness; all the bones and the terrible sad stuff into the blackness; that is in the Kalar Midday. And I also wanted to emphasise a kind of beauty, to bring forth the beautiful aspects, and fantasy and dream worlds, and sexuality as well. Not in the sense that the work is about sexuality, but more to encourage us to think about sexuality, not as a perverse form, which is how it is often interpreted in this society – where sexuality is monitored, as is the way in which we express that sexuality. Instead, the work encourages looking at the body, and looking at animals, and looking at relationships with each other, looking for other relationships. I also really love Caravaggio’s work, I love Bronzino’s work and other works that include that blackness, including the Flemish works. I just love those portraits and the heightened awareness of the drama that is happening in the detail of the eyes. In this sense it is more about the hidden mirrors that are around us, the drama in that. It is not so fixed on indigeneity.

birds, which are Australian icons and totems. About them having a god’s status in Aboriginal culture. NP: In what sense? BA: Because they are messengers. I am careful when I see a Djuri-djuri, the Willy Wag-tail, because if it dances in front of you that means the coming of news. I have also been developing a new portrait series by including some people I know, some family members, and their stories. These portraits are like the disappeared, and I have been looking at the disappeared. I am looking at contemporary ideas and values of those kinds of histories and the ways in which we have relationships to people. I have been thinking of these portraits as being coloured, coded. NP: With the use of blue the image of the man, his shoulder, neck and head, appears to you only as you approach it. From a distance all you see is a flat blue. Whereas with the use of red, the effect is the opposite. The first thing you see are the eyes and they are extremely piercing. They control your gaze like two fixed points. Then, you start to think that the layering effect is more ghostly here because the boundary between the inside and the outside, the edge of the skin and the beginning of the background, bleed into each other. It is that blurring of the skin and the background that makes you, on the one hand think of motion, but also makes you think about absence and presence, the disappearance you just mentioned. The silence of violence is conveyed by the eyes. This is another example of what we also talked about in our previous discussion about what the coordinates of our consciousness are.

For instance, in the interview with Rosa, 2006, Vice President of The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentinia, you draw out a story that has parallels with the stolen generation. It also reminded me of the work by a French-Jewish artist, Christian BA: This use of birds dates back to 1996 when I did Boltanski. The holocaust work with the children in an installation at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum the individual frames each with its own light. This in Exeter. I used magpies because that is one of my work had a similar sort of ghostly presence. Is that totems. a reference for you? NP: The reason why I mentioned the word spirit BA: Yes, definitely it is a big reference. But also is that every time I look into an animal I feel part Boltankski’s poster campaign, Les regards 1998, pagan. Especially with cats, I look at them and I say which shows posters with eyes only. In this way, ‘I can see why the Egyptians made you into gods.’ the recognition of each person is through their MR: It also reminds me of the birds you incorporated into your exhibition YOU’VEALWAY SWANTEDTOBEBLACK at the National Gallery of Victoria.

BA: It is funny how you talk about the creatures as gods because in a way that is what I wanted to really get across in regards to the Kalar Midday

eyes. This is something I am finding similarities with only recently, and in some ways to the eyes in my work Ngajuu Ngaay Nginduugirr. It is a way of


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dealing with old photographs that is ethically and culturally on very sticky ground. And even Gerhard Richter’s portrait Uncle Rudi 1965 and his paintings of the Stammheim prisoners, nudes and corpses. Richter’s comments about a misguided idealism. I often think in Australia we are misguided with our own histories, and all too quick to cover them up, layer them with complex cultural and bureaucratic protocols, and personal feelings which often end in the rejection of new forms and ways of looking at past, and often hidden and forgotten, histories. Richter’s series are based on images from his extensive collection of photo-clippings. I often think of what difference there is between photo-clippings from print material, and photos from photographic libraries and collections. NP: I can also see that the influence of America and popular culture figures very strongly in your work, and in general it is a reflection of the way that the American television landscape is dominating our consciousness. We tend to know more about Native American history than we know of our own. There needs to be a kind of re-wiring of our co-ordinates. Is this part of the attraction in working on a figure like Anthony Mundine? BA: I am inspired by the extent Mundine sought to control his life. That he made the decision to be a strong individual, with internationalist appeal, and with a strong identity. People who come from a very strong religious or cultural background need someone who inspires them. I made the Hope & Peace series because he is a powerful figure in regards to his determination and his discipline.

BA: Well, I think it is richer. I was also interested in Mundine as Muslim in the media context – as something for the fearful society and media commentators to carry on about, especially after 9/11. And mindful of how Aboriginal, Chinese, and other figures are absent from Australian history, its popular stories, and icons. There ain’t no sandstone or cast bronze statues erected in parks or government sites commemorating Aboriginal or other Australian heroes, past or present – let alone museums of the stolen generations. Mundine in this case may be just another scary black man, and a Muslim too. I was waiting for the exciting commentary that was going to come from that, the theatre of prejudice. I mean, at least the Americans are making films like Crash (dir. Paul Haggis, 2004). Just don’t give me another vanilla Australian soapie. Associate Professor Nikos Papastergiadis is a Reader in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. His most recent book is Spatial Aesthetics, Rivers Oram Press, London, 2006. Marianne Riphagen is a postgraduate researcher in cultural anthropology for the Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, and a visiting scholar at the Australian National University, Canberra. Her thesis topic is Indigenous Australian photo-media art.

Mundine as a Muslim is often viewed in the media as a controversial element. And as an icon. In this sense he is similar to the status of an ‘Americon icon’, like Nicole Kidman, but Mundine is Aboriginal, and some people don’t like that. He’s got sex appeal and knows how to play up to the camera. In this case, the work Peace, The Man and Hope is a photo made to look like a magazine or newspaper clipping. NP: Do you think that the adoption of a Muslim code, in a sense, contradicts his Aboriginal identity, or is it complementary?

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BROOK ANDREW: EYE TO EYE Geraldine Barlow What can it mean when we encounter the words Ngajuu ngaay nginduugirr in the gallery, vivid in blue neon, a medium at once otherworldly, and all too much of the daily world? In front of this unfamiliar text a pair of dark eyes hold our attention. They are familiar, and exotic, perhaps rescued from the archive of a museum or ethnographer – enormous in scale, these eyes hold our gaze. A translation of the text confirms our experience of the work: I see you. Whilst occupying different moments in time and history, we ‘see’ each other, watching. One gaze encounters the other, eye to eye, yet little is understood: language, here, is a signifier for the unknown. Ngajuu ngaay nginduugirr: there is little to hint that these words monitor our own observation and uncertainty. Only upon translation do we recognise them as a reflective device, an endeavour to invert the relation between viewer and viewed, seen and unseen. Against invisibility, Brook Andrew states: I see you – Ngajuu ngaay nginduugirr, honouring the language and perspective of his Wiradjuri ancestors. As with many threatened languages, the recovery and renewal of this language has been hard won. Yet, the words Ngajuu ngaay nginduugirr echo throughout the artist’s practice, from his earliest text works in 1992, to the 1998 printed perspex and neon work described above, to the recent screenprints of the 2005 Hope and Peace series. The process and problems of translation are at the core of Brook Andrew’s work. Ngajuu ngaay nginduugirr becomes, perhaps, a placeholder for a complex culture that is largely beyond our understanding and awareness. In Andrew’s work, the gallery is a theatre of meaning, as well as a space of aesthetic experience and experiment: darkness and light are manipulated, the unknown is as much a presence as the known. In his use of language, Andrew creates gaps in the flow of meaning. Andrew delivers difference to his audience but the hook is barbed: a problem of signs is embedded, a semiotic gap in which our own expectations and possible readings of the work and words circle, eddy and are amplified. This disjunction between the known and the unknown is further explored in Andrew’s widely discussed work of 1996, Sexy and dangerous. Here, the ‘text’ appropriated by the artist is the image of a young indigenous man. Again, the image is familiar to us from archival sources, it evokes a

world distant in time and place, the world of an exotic, unspecified ‘other’. Hovering in space, this image bears a triple inscription: three Chinese characters beneath his collarbone, under this, in English, the words ‘sexy and dangerous’; and finally a series of white, painted lines cross his body and arms, echoing the ritual application of white ochre, but which are instead, roughly airbrushed, suggesting the fragility and vulnerability of the digital information that stores, codes and allows us to read this image. In Sexy and dangerous Andrew enlarges the representation of this unknown man to give him body, scale and presence. He is shown as confident, supreme in his cosmos. Post-colonial readings of this work in the late 1990s celebrated Andrew’s assertion of the gaze of the ‘other’. The subject of the work is released from the scale of the miniature, and the pages of history, so that he again looks back, and meets our eye. Like an illuminated advertisement, he seems to tease our gaze, or is it the artist who teases us in adapting the strategies of the advertising industry to new ends? Eye to eye, body to body, Sexy and dangerous restages the power dynamics of colonialism: returning the ‘colonial gaze’ and ‘re-writing’ the colonial archive, alerting us to gaps of cultural, linguistic and temporal difference. And yet, if the ‘colonial gaze’ is in the eye and actions of the coloniser, at what point can this way of seeing be laid to rest, and a new way of relating to people and land created? How do ways of seeing shift over generations, do they abide in the material culture of the past, or are they eternally renewed within the perspective of each new generation? I split your gaze 1997 further interrogates the power relations implicit in the act of looking. In this work, our expectations are disrupted. We cannot meet this man’s gaze, the fracture of his face and its relocation to the edges of the frame leaves a space of uneasy emptiness at the centre of the page. Our eyes move over the surface of this divided face, from eye to eye, across the gap, seeking to reconcile the split with our attention. This work destabilises perception: Is this one man or two? Is this a mirror image, or does it act like the reflective chamber of the kaleidoscope, a hall of illusions which is both one and many? Ngajuu ngaay nginduugirr, I see you; the intricacies of perception begin within.

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In his museum installations and public works, Brook Andrew employs dramatic shifts in scale and the strategies of propaganda and advertising to explore different modes of public address. Andrew has been invited to work with a number of different museums to energise and critique the protocols of museological display. In MENTHEN... queue here! 1999 Andrew presented a formidable assembly of wooden shields: a museological frontline of defensive weapons aligned in long rows, their effect hyper-articulated by the juxtaposition of contemporary yellow and black plastic street barriers, similar to those used to manage street protests and rebellion. In this collision of cultures, different ways of standing in, and upon, the land are emphasised. Conflict is evoked, yet, as viewers we are asked to walk in the position of ghostly warriors, behind the shields, shoulder to shoulder. In this work two very different cultural systems are juxtaposed, as well as two different registers of emotional response: empathy and opposition. Must the signs and systems of public address be didactic, or can they also be emotional, philosophical? In Andrew’s Indian signs 2001, created whilst on a residency in New Delhi, the hand painted tin sign – a local medium of public address and display – was re-engineered to open up more abstract propositions: PROPAGANDA (OF THE UNSEEN), ULFAT PUL:YA (OF THE UNSEEN). As in the global village, multiple languages are interlaced, English and Hindi are presented side by side, the familiar is aligned with the unseen. In Andrew’s recent works from the Hope and Peace series, a global overlay and clash of cultures is constructed. The biblical curse of Babel seems to power this dislocated cacophony of language, pattern and product placement. Andrew presents a a series of negotiations between distinct aesthetic codes: Wiradjuri designs traditionally inscribed into the living bark of trees become wall paintings and screen-printed collages, which can be read against agit-pop aesthetics and the experiments in form and space associated with op art and constructivism. As patterns pull and push in different directions, the rational order of the perspectival grid is undone. Our attention is demanded and divided in these works, which have the spatial quality of contemporary screen culture. Their texture echoes the layers of news footage, scrolling texts of breaking news and stockmarket information broadcast globally, constantly. This spatial complexity is the basis for the work Peace, the Man and Hope 2005. Here we encounter

the boxer Anthony Mundine, his arms spread wide in a Christ-like gesture of supplication and defiance. Offered to us upon an hypnotically layered massmarket strobe of cigarette and gum advertising, ‘The Man’ is a controversial and divisive figure, a hero with as many detractors as fans. Fast on his feet and fancy in his street-attire, comfortable in the world of bling, he is proud of his Aboriginality, and public in his conversion to Islam. In this work systems of knowledge and meaning collide, creating high-voltage images of appeal, dissent and disjunction. The Hope and Peace series speaks to us as consumers in a global marketplace. The screenprint Black & White SPECIAL CUT 2005, for instance, is based on the design of a tobacco tin found at a flea-market by the artist, and, like a psychedelic memento mori, includes a chunky golden chain adorned with a dollar sign. These works offer us aesthetic pleasure as well as an implied critique of contemporary values. Revelling in their own persuasive power, they are self-assured, they act as currency. The mesmerising and seductive quality of the market and capital, a new cultural imperialism, has long been of interest to Brook Andrew. The neon works Buunji Nginduugir America 2001 and White house with satellite 2004 are among those in which he employs a device almost synonymous with advertising and the market – the neon sign – to critique American political and cultural influence in Australia and globally. Whilst the works take the material form of a sign, how they operate at a semiotic level is less clear. As with his use of language, Andrew creates a space of suggestive ambiguity. Andrew’s neon works beckon us. In the gallery, they treat our eyes to an ethereal purity of colour and glowing light. Outside the context of the multi-layered and clamorous space of the city, they appear more singular than other neon signs, all the while fuelled by the same power-grid as our contemporary lives. In the work Emu 2004 our feathered national emblem feeds upon, and disgorges, letters in white, red and blue: USA. In this riotous glow of clashing colour – the emu is represented in emblematic shades of green and gold, above the red white and blue of the British Union Jack – Andrew asks: ‘What is it that sustains us? What is it that identifies us?’ Andrew uses neon to explore questions of national and personal identity. YOU’VEALWAYSWA NTEDTOBEBLACK (white friend) 2006 was created


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for a recent residency in Vilnius, Lithuania, and then revisited for a subsequent exhibition in Shanghai. In each instance the local script and language was used. In this work Andrew lifts a comment made to him by a friend out of a very specific context, to see what shifting resonances it might have in other cultural environments. In these works, the sign is not so much a declaration as a challenge to our self-image. ‘You’vealwayswantedtobeblack’. Have we? What can this statement mean to us? Is the world a black and white experience? Does the meaning of this statement change as it is resituated globally? Andrew further explores these questions in his recent video works, Interviews 2006, in which his subjects are asked to respond to a series of standard questions including: ‘Have you ever wanted to be black?’ In the variety, pathos and humour of the responses to Andrew’s question, a surprising world of many colours emerges from questions of black and white. Neon signs require the black of night to work their magic. Light, night and the transformative, theatrical qualities of darkness are at the heart of Andrew’s Kalar Midday 2003 and Replicant 2006 series. Here, we encounter darkness as a space of fantasy and imagining, as a space of deep time, as a cultural space stretching beyond the city and into the land. These works celebrate blackness: in land, body and perception. The limitations of language and the visual are evident here: body, land and night are entwined. Form blends with its reflection in the glossy surfaces of these Ilfachrome prints, and, as viewers, our own reflections are absorbed into the images before us. Kalar Midday offers visions of the human body and the landscape co-existing in a state of synchronicity and wholeness, like a window to another world. Are they utopian aspirations, an appeal to the noble ideals and beauty of classical sculpture, or a critique of an essentialist mythology of the indigenous? No clear answer is offered. Light in these images weaves together black skin and moonlight, sustaining a link between the living body and the timeless, cyclical movement of larger celestial bodies. Darkness operates in a powerfully encompassing and absorbing manner, blackness here is protective, a blanketing night. There is little sense of threat in this velvet darkness, which is both womblike and vast – without edges. Mythology and clichés of ‘the indigenous’ are hinted at, but we are not offered the solace of a clear critique, or pathway, through this terrain. Instead, we are encouraged to dwell, and revel, in a space of

beauty, symbolism and mystery, protagonists in a kind of theatre where the blackness of what we cannot see is a natural space for the imagination. Kalar Midday includes images of people in the landscape and animals – kookaburras, currawongs and a black snake – in a space of abstracted darkness. In some of these works a reflection or double is offered. Is a relationship of skin being suggested here, beyond the surface differences of skin and feather, a totemic ‘kinship’ of kind? The surface is often questioned in Andrew’s work. Whilst the toned and beautifully lit bodies in the Kalar Midday series offer us a kind of idealised diorama, the recent Replicant series more explicitly reveals the ‘stilled life’ quality of the museum. These creatures are clearly specimens preserved via taxidermy. Whilst the subject in Flying fox 2006 initially appear to us as if they have been ‘captured’ mid-flight on a dark night, the sumptuous surface of the print details their small feet wrapped around a static perch, and a more lasting form of capture. Owl 2006 with his dappled white, grey and brown feathers, is static upon a specimen log, in front of him is the discreet gleam of a rounded mirror edge. These works recall Dutch still lives, vanitas and memento mori. Light and life are intimately conjoined with darkness and death. Parrot 2006 offers an image of a parrot – or parrots, given the mirrored construction of the work – meeting ‘his’ own gaze. With one finely feathered wing outstretched he seems to admire his reflection, or to be playing a game of co-ordinated mimicry with his partner. These curving wings create an arching frame around a black space – the unknown, again, beckons. Whilst the physiognomy of the parrot is so different to our own, we have long been enthralled by its apparent capacity to speak. To ‘parrot’ has become a verb, an expression of an action copied with little thought or decision. How do we ensure our voice has meaning, living at the crossroads of so many cultures? Can we step into an autonomous space and out of the confines of the diorama, or mirror?

Geraldine Barlow is Curator/Collection Manager, Monash University Museum of Art


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Page 35: stills from Interviews 2006 35

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Page 36: Blackblack 2005 Page 37: Kalmaldain / Composer 2005 36

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Page 38: Frontier Lights 2005 Page 39: Black & White SPECIAL CUT 2005 38

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Page 40: Against all odds 2005 Page 41: Experiment #3 2005 40

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and under the stone there is lust and under your feet there is me and under your mind there is nothing and underneath all of you is nothing - but an aching an aching of you

Pages 42: untitled prose, Brook Andrew 2001 Pages 44: untitled prose, Brook Andrew 2006 Pages 43 and 45: installation view of (the unseen), New Dehli, 2001 42

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Page 46: ULFAT (of the unseen) 2001 Page 47: Opinion as crime (of the unseen) 2001 46

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Pages 48-49: installation views of Neon Boomerangs 1998, Sydney Page 50: Buunji Nginduugir America 2001 Page 51: installation view of YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOBEBLACK 2006, Shanghai 50

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FLASHING AND SMASHING: THE ART OF BROOK ANDREW Anne Loxley Like an advertising guru, Brook Andrew uses glossy finishes, arresting imagery and pithy phrases to hijack our attention and play with our minds. But what he’s selling is no regular commodity. Still giddy from Andrew’s stealthy seduction, the viewer becomes witness to the unpacking of important elisions in sanctioned histories. During an artistic practice which has come to prominence over the past decade, Brook Andrew has made a habit of blasting the invisibilities and obfuscations that are the hallmarks of dominant narratives. Of course there are many fine artists who articulate powerful counter narratives, however, in his appropriation of mass media methodologies and techniques, Andrew invites comparison with such rare artists as Jenny Holzer and Andy Warhol. No work better encapsulates this cunning strategy than the iconic Sexy and Dangerous 1996 which quickly became a bittersweet emblem of Aboriginal male beauty and unspoken racist fear.1 Andrew has developed a powerful body of work which skews prevalent points of view. His recurring interests include attitudes to Indigenous people and issues of identity, the question of who constructs history and who history excludes, as well as political critique, especially of the United States and its dominance of global media. The artist explains: ‘Visibility and seeing each other crosses cultures and gender. It’s all about stereotypes. The complexities of internationalism and intimacy.’2 The phrase which could be seen as Brook Andrew’s mantra, ‘I see you, you see me’, originally appeared in the 1998 neon and photographic combination, Ngajuu Ngaay Nginduugirr (I see you). Importantly, this was the first text piece to exclusively use Andrew’s ancestral language: his mother’s people, the Wiradjuri, are known as the people of the three rivers; the Wambool (now known as the Macquarie River), the Kalari (now the Lachlan River) and the Murrumbidjeri (the Murrumbidgee River).3 The works of art in this exhibition demonstrate an unfolding discovery of the language, landscape, designs and history of the Wiradjuri nation; indeed, while Andrew has consistently drawn on other languages and cultures, Wiradjuri culture infuses many of his most significant works. After the

original mantra, Andrew used Wiradjuri language for another stirring wake up call in neon, Polemics 2000 which states ‘NGAANDHI MUURRUY DHALAAY YUUWIYN NGUUNYII POLEMICS YUULAYN NOW’. (Those who live passionately offer a social exchange. Polemics is the skin of now). Moving from language to re-imaginings, the photographic series Kalar Midday (Land of three rivers) 2003-4 repopulated the nightscape with gorgeous Aboriginal people. The Italian artist Caravaggio, as well as the American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, informs these luscious figure studies; in Kalar Midday Andrew has created some of the most aesthetically beautiful imagery of his career. But Andrew can never do straight beauty; the Kalar Midday dream is chilled by the studies of taxidermied iconic Australian birds and animals. Wiradjuri dendroglyph patterning appeared, in pulsating op art style, in the 2005 screen print series Hope and Peace.4 The radiating diamond design was incorporated alongside other visual elements such as Japanese cigarette packets, stylised megaphones and polemical statements in pidgin Wiradjuri. Next, the design appeared in a major installation, as a backdrop for a text in Lithuanian declaring: ‘you’ve always wanted to be black’.5 The Lithuanian work is part of a series – the same phrase was translated into Mandarin in Shanghai – and a video work created during residencies in Lithuania and Chile features Chinese, European and Chilean people answering such questions as ‘have you ever wanted to be black?’ For Andrew, skin becomes metaphysical, as important a notion as the idea of reciprocated seeing, skin as ‘embodiment of thought’. As he stated in POLEMICS, ‘those who live passionately offer a social exchange. Polemics is the skin of now’. The artist explains his position thus: ‘For me, skin is a metaphor for the covering of the self – how we label, body image and ideas of superiority’.6 In Andrew’s latest major work, commissioned for the forthcoming Den Haag Sculptuur 2007: De OverKant/Down Under, The Hague, The Netherlands, he is planning to use his Wiradjuri op art pattern for 17th century court jester-inspired costumes which will be worn by the exhibition security guards, as along with an outdoor tent for security head quarters. Referencing the Dutch colonial history in Australia, Andrew explains, ’the tent of the coloniser is mixed with the circus


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tent’.7 As with Andrew’s first Wiradjuri text pieces, the artist’s ancestral pattern becomes a tool for commentary on issues way beyond the scope of the artist’s own identity: ‘Wiradjuri design has become a motif for me – an abstract wallpaper design that is optical – a metaphor for being hypnotized. In today’s society we are hypnotized’.8 Hypnotic effect has long been an interest as well as a pictorial strategy for Brook Andrew. Radiating forms were used in his art school final year work, Black Words I, which was awarded the 1993 Mary Alice Evatt Prize. The figure study Proselytiser 2000 muses on the mesmerizing words of the handsome Aboriginal preacher while the Wiradjuri optical patterning transforms his recent work to hallucinogenic levels. And, of course, the artist’s love affair with the flashing medium of neon is longstanding. These works flash and smash and crash. In the humorous, if vicious, Buuga buuga 2000, a boondi strikes the ground, creating red smash marks above the words Buuga buuga (very rotten meat).9 The mangled car of Bungal-gara-gara 1998-99 (all over the place) is from an internet image of the vehicle in which Princess Diana was killed. The work was inspired by the fact that remote Aboriginal communities were holding mourning ceremonies for the late Princess, an indication of the global reach of her public profile. The text of the work’s title comments wryly on Diana’s ubiquitous media presence, as well as her emotional and physical states. Other tragic mass media princesses have been the subject of remarkable works of art by Andrew. Thank you America 1997 is a mixed media wall installation which included a poster of the American child beauty queen Jon Benet Ramsay, plastered onto a corrugated iron wall, the title text graffitied in hasty white capital letters.10 With irony and pathos, this work addresses a system that values children’s beauty pageants, a world in which children are not safe. A related work, Showtime 1999, contests the over-saturation of American content in Australian media by focusing on the shenanigans of would-be princess Monica Lewinski. Draped in pink feather boas, she is beaming at us, framed by the American flag. This hilarious, embarrassing farce stars a United States President – look out! An important counterpoint to such biting critiques of dominant systems is Andrew’s lyrical depictions of beautiful Indigenous people – often sensuous and sometimes erotic. Like Tracey Moffatt, Andrew has created many memorable, sexy images of

Aboriginal subjects, beginning with the flirtatious 1996 photograph Chip on the shoulder. In 2005 Andrew released a second version of Sexy and Dangerous, and Kalar Midday extended the repertoire to female subjects. Whether in luscious Ilfochrome, vibrant neon or any other of the slew of mediums he uses, Brook Andrew packs a punch, and as his critical and commercial successes confirm, he can sustain his audiences. Andrew slips effortlessly between languages of popular culture, forever developing communication strategies with surprisingly broad reach. In musing on his communicative deftness, I find myself fixated on the environment of his childhood. The eldest of four children of his mother Barbara and father Trevor, a truck driver of Scottish/Irish descent, Brook Andrew grew up in Werrington, a tough Western Sydney suburb of working class families in sprawling houses and expansive yards. Nearby Penrith was more country town than city. A loner, Andrew’s main hobbies in his adolescent years were his art, his best mate Ray and his aviary. A childhood of isolation and under-stimulation allows room for a vast dream space. A dream space which is physically circumscribed by a sparse cultural landscape – one that nurtures neon, cars, shopping malls and fast food – may, in spite of itself, lead to vivid facility with the languages of that culture, especially when used as tools by the inventive and ‘steely intellect’ of Brook Andrew.11 Anne Loxley is Curator/Manager of the Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest 1 This (editioned) work was acquired by the Queensland Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria, Benalla Art Gallery, Gabrielle Pizzi, Gordon Daring Foundation, Joan and Peter Clemenger. 2 Brook Andrew, telephone conversation with the author, 7 March 2007. 3 Downloaded 7 March 2007. Andrew had used elements of Wiradjuri language as early as 1993. 4 First shown in Hope and Peace, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, 5 July – 6 August 2005. 5 HIGH TIDE: currents in contemporary Australasian art. National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland, and Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania 2006. 6 Brook Andrew in conversation with the author, cited in Anne Loxley, ‘The Battles Continue’, Colour Power, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 2004. 7 Brook Andrew, telephone conversation with the author, 1 March 2007. 8 ibid. 9 A boondi is an Aboriginal club. Buuga Buuga is in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. 10 First exhibited at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-Operative, Sydney 1994. 11 Christine Nicholls, ‘Transcending the Culture of Sheep’, Asian Art News, July/August 2006, pg.54.


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Page 53: Polemics 2000 Page 55: Proselytiser 2000 Pages 56-57: Brook Andrew travel photos Page 58: BUUGA BUUGA 2000 Page 59: Still, Showtime, Revolution, Bungal-gara-gara 1999 55

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Page 60: The Hunter 2005 Page 61: Thank you America 1997 60

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A new work to be made for Den Haag Sculpture 2007 involves the construction of a Maharaja-style circus tent and costumes in black and white hypnotic patterns. The costumes are inspired by styles of 17th Century Dutch costumes and the court jester. As a carnivalesque showground – a send-up of the colonial Maharaja lifestyle – the work also extends the vernacular of the street parade, rally and protest, as well as agit-prop-style kiosks and propaganda. Playing on the memory of the circus freak-show, the tent and costumes invoke dominant historical cultural visions – the tent as a ‘palace’, and the performers as ‘servants’, the costume pattern similar to Indonesian and African inspired Dutch batiks – provoking confusion, farce and mayhem in the court-jester style. The work might also be read as a re-enactment of colonial camp-sites, the travelling circuses of Aboriginal and indigenous performers, or a humourous re-colonisation of The Hague. This play of official cultural institutions resisted and modified by popular and collective political movements resonates with The Hague’s status as the current site of the international Peace Palace Courts; as a mirror to the Court’s considerations of war crimes, or the current wars in the Middle East. Teasing out new possibilities in colonial, nation-state and global politics, this installation offers a ‘legal’ theatre of tragedy and escapism, absurdity and protest. Brook Andrew, March 2007 Page 62: working drawing for Den Haag Sculpture 2007 Page 63: installation view of YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOBEBLACK 2006, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 62

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installation view of YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOBEBLACK 2006, at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne sketchbook drawing Burning Organs of Terrorism 2003 installation views of (I) Ngajuu want to Believe 2001, at the Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide installation views of Menthen…queue here 1999, at djamu gallery The Australian Museum, Sydney


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REPLICANT: OWL, PARROT, POSSUM, FLYING FOX Lynette Russell Over the last decade an increasing disconnection between the natural environment and contemporary society has played out. Nature is unpredictable, uncontrollable and, as current debates over environmental devastation as the result of global warming demonstrate, nature can also be vengeful. Truisms and sayings abound linking art to nature: there is art in nature; nature is the art of God. Art and the natural world are a synchronous fit, contemporaneous and coincident, mutually entangled. In the 2006 Replicant series, Brook Andrew plays with images of ‘nature’ and challenges the audience to decipher what is real from what is not, and from what is, to use Umberto Eco’s term, ‘hyper-real’1. Andrew asks us to consider if we know nature at all or if it eludes us. Would we be able to differentiate the replicant from the real? Many cultures around the world, including some native American cultures, speak of the figure of the trickster who has the capacity to transform himself into human and animal form. The trickster can transcend nature yet in this transcendence the trickster illustrates and illuminates the very power of nature. As Australia continues to reel from the worst drought in recorded history, advertisements abound for artificial lawn, assuring us it can keep your garden looking natural. It feels real but is in fact a plastic verdant lushness, a replicant of nature. Reproducing nature in the form of artificial plants is familiar to most of us. Such representations of nature are a commonplace feature of many offices and other indoor spaces. Today we must seek out nature, as it is usually confined to nature reserves, state parks and the like, which have to be administered, managed and controlled. In attempting to confine and domesticate nature in this manner our disconnection is emphasized. In seeking to experience nature we are reminded that we are generally detached and disengaged from the natural world. Brook Andrew offers us an alternative, a trickster’s view, creating images which transcend nature only to reinstate its power. Replicant is a series of vibrant and potent images, created with an almost forensic attention to detail. Reproduced in Ilfochrome at large format, these are literally larger than life images. Such vibrancy seems unexpected, almost counterintuitive, especially as the models for these images are dusty stuffed

animals loaned to the artist from the children’s education section of the Australian Museum in Sydney. Standing before these photographs the audience hesitates momentarily – are they alive or dead, are these real animals or a simulacra? Could these be the hyper-real? And how do we determine what is a replicant and what is not? Photographs are, of course, still and it is in this stillness that there is ambivalence. Is the image a ‘frozen moment’? Are the images simply a static rendering of movement, flying foxes caught midflight or parrots mirroring each other in an elaborate mating ritual? Or are these taxidermied animals posed and contorted and then manipulated in an effort to replicate real life? The reliability of these images is questionable, our capacity to be certain is undermined. Is the motionlessness simply a product of the photographic medium, or is it a trick? I live close to the inner city amidst a landscape of buildings and roads yet the animals of Replicant are familiar to me. They are commonplace, everyday wild animals: parrot, owl, flying fox, possum – all of which one might find in a suburban garden. This is the nature we engage with often, the possum that stomps across the roof, the flying foxes that nestle in the fruit trees, the owl whose distant hoot might stir our sleep. Even in the inner city, the sun’s imminent rise is heralded by a cacophony of parrots screeching to greet the new day. These are the animals that have adjusted to human presence and, in some cases, are even beneficiaries of the built environment. As such they are both part of nature and removed from nature. They are the very exemplars of the power of nature to adapt and modify; to account for the dislocation settlement presents and to accommodate it. The Replicant series also draws on science fiction’s rendering of the boundary between the manufactured and the authentic as virtually indistinguishable. Perhaps the quintessential examples of this approach are found in the novels of Philip K. Dick2 and most famously in the film Blade Runner. The replicant is the contrived, the man-made, the inauthentic. Yet the replicant’s construction is so flawless that even the individual replicant may be unaware of their unnatural status. So when the owl looks at his reflection in the mirror, we are forced to ask – what does he see? Is this a natural owl or replicant, or, paradoxically, could it be that the replicant is the mirror image (which we the audience can not see)? Mirror images and reflections feature in this series. In Possum, the subject is doubled as


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both she and the branch on which she stands are mirrored. Is this a replicant or merely a reflection, can we tell the original from the reproduced, the authentic from the inauthentic? Like the replicants of Blade Runner she is a mirror-perfect reproduction. Startlingly, the centerline of the image, where the two halves of the reflection meet, forms the illusion or suggestion of a face. It is as if by doubling the image it has developed presence and perhaps even sentience. The point at which the two images join has produced something that is much more than the sum of its parts. Confrontingly, this apparition seems to stare back at the viewer, challenging us to acknowledge its presence. Brook Andrew encourages us to consider the possibility of entering a world and a reality where we interact with constructed creatures that believe themselves to be real. It is at this moment that our own capacity to know the world is tested. Replicants pose a threat to the natural order and raise questions of both being and knowing. They also raise questions about human beings and the disconnection between the cultural and natural worlds. Of course we know that such categories are entirely constructed, there is no pure nature nor is there pure culture. Nonetheless, Replicant confounds us as we are no longer certain where we might draw the boundary (however arbitrary) between nature and culture. It is important to recall that in Blade Runner replicants are programmed with artificial memories in the form of photographs. Such memories make them indistinguishable from the humans of which they are copies. To have memories is to be real; to have memories is to have history. Andrew has extended this idea powerfully by reproducing tangible photographs which he labels ‘replicants’, cleverly playing with notions of history, memory and reality. Replicant reminds us that we can never truly know or control nature. It is a powerful representation of commonplace native animals, each of which confronts the viewer by challenging them to determine if they are real or replicant, singular or doubled, alive or artificial. Like tricksters they transform and transmogrify, somehow becoming both more and less than real. Professor Lynette Russell is Director of the Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, Monash University 1 Umberto Eco, Travels in Hyper-Reality, Trans. William Weaver, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, New York, 1985. 2 In particular Dick’s novels such as The Man in the High Castle 1962, The Simulacra 1965, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep 1968 (which Ridley Scott directed as Blade Runner, Warner Bros., 1982).


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Page 70: Flying fox 2006 Page 71: Owl 2006 70

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Page 72: Parrot 2006 Page 73: Possum 2006 72

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Page 74: sketchbook drawing for Emu 2003 Page 75: Emu 2004 74

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Page Page Page Page

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Public art proposal for Birrarung Marr, Melbourne 2005 Suitcase #1 2007 installation view of Wilbing, at Sydney International Airport 2000 Aurora public art proposal It’ll be a cosy weekend, Epping North 2000 77

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Page 80: installation view from Adelaide Biennale 2006 Page 82: installation view: OF CREATION‌ 2001 Page 85: found image 80

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BIOGRAPHY Brook Andrew was born in Sydney in 1970. He lives and works in Melbourne, and is represented by Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne. Andrew has held regular exhibition with Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, since 2000; Stills Gallery, Sydney, since 2004; and Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide since 2003. Further individual exhibitions have included: Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne 2007; YOU’VEALWAY SWANTEDTOBEBLACK, National Gallery of Victoria, 2006; Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, South Australia, 2001; Artspace, Sydney, 2001; Sanskriti Kendra, Delhi, India, 2001; Gasworks, and Goldsmith College, London University, London, 2000; Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide, 1999; and Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, UK, 1996. Since 1994 Brook Andrew has participated in numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally including: De Overkant/Down-Under: Den Haag Sculptuur, Den Haag, The Netherlands, 2007; Alfred Metraux: From Fieldwork to Human Rights, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC, 2006-07; Prism: Contemporary Australian Art, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation, Tokyo 2006; Trans Versa, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Santiago 2006; Light Sensitive, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 2006; High Tide: Currents in Contemporary Australasian art, National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; and Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius 2006; 21st Century Modern: The Adelaide Biennial of Australia 2006, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 2006; Black on White, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 2005; C-Town Bling, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney 2005; Colour Power, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 2005; 2004 Australian Culture Now. ACMI and NGV; Our Place: Indigenous Australian now, Cultural Olympiad Program, Greece 2004; Images: Photos by Aboriginal Artists, Aboriginal Art Museum, Utrecht, The Netherlands 2004; Aboriginal Art: Spirit & Vision, SammlungEssl, Vienna 2004; Border Panic, Performance Space, Sydney 2002; Across: Indigenous Art and Culture, Australian National University Gallery, Canberra 2000-01; 4th Nouméa Biennale d’Art Contemporian, Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New Caledonia 2000; Orbital, Experimenta Media Arts at The Lux Centre for Film, London, and Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne 2000; Menthen...queue here! and blak beauty, Djamu Gallery, Australian Museum, Sydney 1999; Perspecta 99, S.H. Ervin Gallery, Sydney 1999; Re-take: Contemporary ATSI Photography, National Gallery of Australia touring exhibition, Canberra, 19982000; Beyond Myth-Oltre Il Mito, Palazzo Papadopoli, 48th Venice Biennale, Italy 1999; 15th National ATSI Award, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, Darwin 1998; Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia 1996; True Colours, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Western Australia, The Performance Space, Sydney & Boomalli, Sydney and UK tour: Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool; South London Gallery, London, City Gallery, Leicester, 1995; Perspecta, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 1995; and Blakness: Blak City Culture, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and national touring exhibition, Melbourne, 1994-5. Brook Andrew has completed various public art commissions and proposals as well as acting as a designer on selected public art projects and events, including: 4 Wonders, Lend Lease, Melbourne Docklands, 2004-07; Designer: Opening Ceremony, Commonwealth Games, Melbourne, 2006; ANP (ANIMATED NEON PROTOZOA), Queensland Museum Foyer, 2006; Designer: Opening Ceremony, Rugby World Cup, Olympic Stadium, Sydney, 2003; Open Gallery, Art & About, Sydney city street banners, Sydney City Council, 2003; Rivervisions (with Regina Walter) Casula Powerhouse, Sydney, 2003; Seven Spears, Sydney International Shooting Centre, Cecil Park, Sydney Olympic Games Authority, Sydney 2000; Banner Art, National

Museum of Australia, Canberra, 2000; Wilbing (to fly), Walama Forecourt, Sydney International Airport Terminal, 1999-2000 and Thinking of You, Greenvalley Artworks, Liverpool City Council, Sydney 1997. Brook Andrew has made new work during various residencies internationally including: Museum of Contemporary Arts, Santiago, Chile; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania; University of Hawaii School of Art, Hawaii; Bundanon Trust, Nowra, Australia; and Gasworks and Goldsmith College, London University, London. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Geraldine Barlow (ed.), Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne 2007. Peter Minter (ed.), ‘Telling Our Own Stories: Peter Minter Talks to Artist Brook Andrew’, Meanjin, Blak times: Indigenous Australia, vol. 65, no.1, 2006. Jason Smith, YOU’VEALWAYSWANTEDTOBEBLACK, Melbourne International Festival and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 2006. Christine Nicholls, ‘Transcending The Culture of Sheep’, Asian Art News, Asian Art Press, Hong Kong. Vol.16, No.4, July/August 2006. Annie, E. Coombes (ed), Rethinking Settler Colonialism: history and memory in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa, Manchester University Press, 2005. Penny Craswell, ‘Brook Andrew: Hope & Peace’, Artlink: Ecology, Everyone’s Business, vol.25, no.4, 2005. Marcia Langton, ‘Making the Land Speak: Aboriginal Subalterns & Garrulous Visuality’ in Nick Tsoutas (ed.), Knowledge+Dialo gue+Exchange: remapping cultural globalisms from the south, Artspace Visual Arts Centre, Sydney 2005, pp. 115-135. Marcia Langton, ‘High Excellent Technical Flavour’, Brook Andrew: Hope & Peace, Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi and Brook Andrew, Melbourne 2005. Martin Jolly, ‘Image and Imagination’, in Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Canada, 2005. Anne Loxley, ‘The Battles Continue: Brook Andrew’, Colour Power, National Gallery of Victoria, pp.142-143, 2004. Ashley Crawford, ‘Putting black beauty up in lights’, The Age, 1 April 2004. Michael Newall, ‘Brook Andrew’, Photofile, No.71, Winter 2004, pg 69. Ashley Crawford, ‘Brook Andrew’, Australian Art Collector, Issue 27, Jan-March 2004, pg171. Chris Chapman, ‘Brook Andrew: Never make decisions based on fear’, Art in Australia, vol.40, no.3, March 2003, pp. 446-453. Anne Loxley, ‘Confronting the stereotype with defiance and affection’, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 August 2003. Christine Nichols, ‘Brook Andrew: Seriously playful’, Real Time + Onscreen, April-May 2003, no.54 Daniel Thomas, ‘S&D at NGV’, Art Monthly Australia, no.160, June 2003. Anne Loxley, ‘Back from the Sidelines’, Art & Australia, vol 39, no.1, 2001, pp. 63-65. P. Barragán, ‘Imágenes Aborígenes’, El Periodico del Arte, Exposiciones, p.17, France, No.22, 1999. Charles Green, ‘Constructed in the Field of the Other’, Art/text, no. 65, May/July, 1999. For a complete bibliography and outline of exhibitions by the artist, visit or 81

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BROOK ANDREW EYE TO EYE Suitcase #1 2007 aluminium and applied paint finish, edition 1/5 32.0 x 48.0 x 64.0 cm Interviews 2006 DVD Flying fox 2006 (Replicant series) Ilfochrome print, edition 1/5 127.0 x 177.0 cm Owl 2006 (Replicant series) Ilfochrome print, edition 1/5 127.0 x 190.0 cm Parrot 2006 (Replicant series) Ilfochrome print, edition 1/5 127.0 x 220.0 cm Possum 2006 (Replicant series) Ilfochrome print, edition 1/5 127.0 x 145.0 cm YOU’VEALWAYSWANTED TOBEBLACK 2006 animated neon 120.1 x 25.2 x 8.5cm

Experiments #1-12 2005 (Hope & Peace series) screenprints, unique states each: 100.0 x 98.0 cm

Narcissus 2004 (Kalar Midday series) Ilfochrome print, edition 5/5 125.0 x 138.0 cm

Frontier Lights 2005 (Hope & Peace series) screenprint, edition 5/7 100.0 x 98.0 cm

Tensio 2004 (Kalar Midday series) Ilfochrome print, A/P 1/2 84.5 x 280.5 cm

Kalmaldain / Composer 2005 Gary 2003 (Hope & Peace series) (Kalar Midday series) screenprint, A/P Ilfochrome print, A/P 1/2 100.0 x 98.0 cm 81.5 x 90.0 cm Peace, The Man & Hope 2005 (Hope & Peace series) screenprint on Italian rag paper, collage arranged as a triptych, A/P 1/2 151.5 x 245.0 cm Monash University Collection The Man 2005 (Hope & Peace series) screenprint with diamond and crystal dust and graphite, unique state 154.0 x 100.0 cm The Hunter 2005 neon, edition 1/5 dimensions variable

Tina 2003 (Kalar Midday series) Ilfochrome print, A/P 1/2 87.0 x 96.0 cm Private Collection Select Your Invader (of the unseen) 2002 Ilfochrome print, edition 1/5 78.2 x 118.2 cm ULFAT (of the unseen) 2001 Ilfochrome print, edition 5/5 78.2 x 118.2 cm Opinion as crime (of the unseen) 2001 Ilfochrome print, edition 1/5 78.2 x 118.2 cm

Showtime 1999 (Contention series) screenprint, A/P 80.0 x 121.3 cm (sheet) 31.0 x 121.3 cm (image) Still 1999 (Contention series) screenprint, A/P 80.0 x 121.0 cm (sheet) 31.0 x 121.0 cm (image) Ngajuu Ngaay Nginduugirr (I see you) 1998 Diptych: neon & transparency face mounted on acrylic, edition 1/5 56.0 x 200.0 cm (image) 350.0 x 50.0 cm (neon) Collection of Sandra Barnard, Sydney I split your gaze 1997 Duraclear mounted on acrylic, edition 3/10 135.0 x 127.3 x 0.6 cm Sexy & dangerous I 1996 Duraclear mounted on acrylic, A/P 1/2 183.5 x 121.0 x 0.6 cm

Sexy & dangerous II 1996 Duraclear mounted on acrylic, A/P 1/2 Emu 2004 As though we’re all the same 170.0 x 127.0 x 0.6 cm YOU’VEALWAYSWANTED animated neon on anodised (of the unseen) 2001 TOBEBLACK (white friend) aluminium, edition 3/5 Ilfochrome print, edition 2/5 Chip on the shoulder 1996 2006 120.0 x 164.2 x 18.3 cm 78.2 x 118.2 cm cibachrome print, edition 1/5 installation: animated neon Collection of Bernard Shafer, 112.9 x 81.4 x 0.3 cm and wall painting Melbourne Buunji Nginduugir America Collection: Art Gallery 550.0 x 900.0 cm 2001 of New South Wales White house with satellite animated neon, edition 1/5 – Purchased 1997 Against all odds 2005 2004 400.0 x 50.0 cm (Hope & Peace series) neon diptych, edition 1/5 Unless otherwise stated, all screenprint, edition 3/3 each: 40.0 x 60.0 cm; 45.0 OF CREATION… 2001 works are courtesy of the 100.0 x 98.0 cm x 60.0 cm enamel on tin artist and Tolarno Galleries. 40 panels, each: 43.0 x Dimensions given for Black & White SPECIAL CUT Ignoratia 2004 60.0 cm unframed sheet size, (h x w 2005 (Kalar Midday series) x d), unless other (Hope & Peace series) Ilfochrome print, edition 2/10 Polemics 2000 wise specified. screenprint, edition 4/5 124.4 x 200.0 cm internally mirrored animated 100.0 x 98.0 cm Private Collection, neon, edition 2/5 Melbourne 172.5 x 126.0 x 9.0 cm Blackblack 2005 Private Collection (Hope & Peace series) Miriam 2004 screenprint, edition 3/5 (Kalar Midday series) Revolution 1999 100.0 x 98.0 cm Ilfochrome print, edition 4/10 (Contention series) 87.0 x 96.0 cm screenprint, edition 2/3 100.0 x 319.6 cm (sheet) 76.8 x 300.0 cm (image) 83

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS MUMA Acknowledgments The Monash University Museum of art extends its sincere appreciation to Brook Andrew for his collaboration with the museum in the realisation of this exhibition. MUMA also acknowledges the involvement and contribution of its presenting partners, Anne Loxley and John Kirkman at Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Sydney; Professor Ted Snell at the John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University of Technology, Perth; and Bob Hewitt of Foto Freo, Perth. The development of the exhibition has been greatly assisted by the involvement of Brook Andrew’s representative, Jan Minchin and Tolarno Galleries. MUMA would also like to acknowledge Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi and Stills Gallery for their valued assistance. MUMA extends its sincere thanks and appreciation to the private and institutional lenders, who have generously agreed to part with works from their collection for the exhibition and tour. MUMA is honoured to present newly commissioned texts on Brook Andrew’s work by Anne Loxley, Nikos Papastergiadis, Marianne Riphagen and Lynette Russell, and thanks them for their insightful, erudite and timely contributions. Yanni Florence’s has once again worked closely with the artist and exhibition curators to develop an inspiring design for the catalogue, and published material associated with the exhibition, and we thank him for his significant support of MUMA’s activities. Special thanks to MUMA’s small and dedicated team, who have each contributed to the development of the exhibition, and to the installation crew and volunteers for their careful work and commitment to a complex installation. Finally, many thanks to Kelly Gellatly, Curator – Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria, for generously agreeing to open the exhibition.

Artist’s acknowledgments Brook Andrew would like to acknowledge Trevor & Barbara Andrew, Archie & Mavis Andrew, Australian Council for the Arts, Asialink, Geraldine Barlow, Sandra Barnard, Chris Bonney, Rose & Noel Charnock, Chris Chapman, Max Delany, Yanni Florence, Billie Gardner, Basil Hall, Kirrily Hammond, John Kirkman, Marcia Langton, Anne Loxley, Anne-Marie May, Hugo Michell, Jan Minchin, Julian Navarro, Maud Page, Nikos Papastergiadis, Samantha Pizzi, Larry Rawling, Tim Richardson, Marianne Riphagen, Lynette Russell, Elina Spilia, Trent Walter, Stephen Ward. 84

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Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA 4 April – 23 June 2007 Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Sydney 18 August – 14 October 2007 The John Curtin Gallery Curtin University of Technology, Perth 4 April - 30 May 2008 Curator: Geraldine Barlow Assistant Curator: Kirrily Hammond Catalogue design: Brook Andrew and Yanni Florence Photography: Christian Capurro, Sonia Payes, Brook Andrew Pre-press: John Selton, Optimo Imaging Print production: Gus Smith, Econoprint Installation: David H Thomas, Danny Lacy, Susan Jacobs and Jess Johnson Catalogue published by Monash University Museum of Art March 2007 Edition 1200 ISBN 0 9775782 3 2 © 2007 Monash University Museum of Art, the artists and authors. The views and opinions expressed in this catalogue are those of the authors. No material, whether written or photographic, may be reproduced without the permission of the artists, authors and Monash University Museum of Art. Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA Ground Floor, Building 55, Clayton Campus Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton Postal: MUMA, Building 55, Clayton campus, Monash University, Melbourne VIC 3800 Australia T: 61 3 9905 4217 E: Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 2-5pm Staff Max Delany Director Geraldine Barlow Curator/Collection Manager Melissa Keys Program Administrator Kirrily Hammond Assistant Curator–Collection Dr Kyla McFarlane Assistant Curator–Exhibitions David H Thomas Museum Officer Kate Barber Audience Development and Public Programs Officer Julie Traitsis Museum Assistant Leon Goh Museum Assistant Volunteers: Renee Cosgrave, Katia Lallo, Masha Makarova, Royce Ng and Caroline Rook MUMA committee Professor John Redmond (Chair), Dean, Faculty of Art & Design Ms Louise Adler, Member of Council Mr Max Delany, Director, Monash University Museum of Art Mr Ron Fairchild, Vice-President (Advancement) Professor Bernard Hoffert, Associate Dean, External, and Head, Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art & Design Professor Bill Kent, School of Historical Studies, Faculty of Arts Ms Victoria Lynn, Curator, 3rd Auckland Triennial, and freelance writer based in Melbourne Professor Brian Mackenzie, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Gippsland campus Associate Professor Robert Nelson, Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies, and Head, Department of Theory of Art and Design, Faculty of Art & Design Professor Claudia Terstappen, Department of Fine Arts, Faculty of Art & Design


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5/04/2007 6:55:21 PM

eye to eye  

Brook Andrew with Eye to Eye

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