Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy
- When 4 May - 14 Jul 2018
CNR OXFORD ST & GREENS RD PADDINGTON NSW 2021
TUES TO SAT, 10AM–5PM
+61 2 8936 0888
'Ritual Intimacy' is the first major survey of the work of leading Australian contemporary artist Christian Thompson.
The multi-layered exhibition spans fifteen years of practice bringing together photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound works to explore notions of identity, race, sexuality and Australia's colonial history. Best known for his photographic self-portraits, Thompson examines the relationship between form and the body through a process of 'auto-ethnography'.
This exhibition explores the idea of 'spiritual repatriation', a concept Thompson recently developed in his PhD at Oxford University, England which involved working with the Australian collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Rather than appropriating or restaging problematic ethnographic images of Indigenous ancestors held in the Museum's collection, Thompson chose to spend significant periods of time with these images, absorbing their 'aura' and developing a personal artistic and deferential response that is decisively empowered.
'Ritual Intimacy' features an ambitious new commission, Berceuse 2017. In this immersive three-channel sound and video installation, Thompson sings in Bidjara, his ancestral language that is considered to be 'officially endangered'. Thompson explains, this work explores "the simple yet profound idea, that if even one word of an endangered language is spoken it continues to be a living language."
Charlotte Day and Hetti Perkins
Christian Thompson Australian Graffiti 2007, and We bury our own 2012. Installation view, 'Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy', UNSW Galleries, 2018. Photo: Silversalt Photography
Christian Thompson Museum of Others 2016 and Equilibrium 2016. Installation view, 'Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy', UNSW Galleries, 2018. Photo: Silversalt Photography
Presented in association with Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA)
This project has been supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.
MUMA and UNSW Galleries also acknowledge the support of the Gordon Darling Foundation for the accompanying publication.