23 October - 12 December 2015
Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (SCAF) presents Collection+: Christian Thompson, the fifth iteration of SCAF’s Collection+ series.
The series is conceived as a hybrid project with a specific cross-pollinating purpose. Some 800 works in The Gene & Brian Sherman Collection are scrutinised and assessed by invited curators working in partnership with SCAF’s curatorial team. Each curator selects a single artist from the collection and researches collections nationally and internationally in order to identify significant related works by the same artist.
Collection+: Christian Thompson, curated by Alana Kushnir, explores what it truly means to own or possess something, the extinction and rediscovery of indigenous languages and the appropriation of indigenous Australian material culture. Works have been borrowed from major public institutions including the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA), and from a range of national private collections.
Dr Christian Thompson is an Australian-born, London-based contemporary artist who explores notions of identity, gender, sexuality, cultural hybridity and history. He was born in 1978 in Gawler, South Australia, and is a Bidjara man of the Kunja Nation of central southwestern Queensland. Formally trained as a sculptor, Thompson came to prominence in the 1990s through a series of performative works and today his multidisciplinary practice spans photography, performance, video, sculpture and sound. Thompson has developed a mode of conceptual portraiture in which he inhabits a range of culturally charged personas, achieved through handcrafted costumes, choreographed poses and orchestrated settings.
In 2010, Thompson became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art) from Trinity College, University of Oxford, Oxford; Master of Theatre from DasArts, Amsterdam School of Arts, Amsterdam; Master of Fine Art (Sculpture) and Honours (Sculpture) from RMIT University, Melbourne; and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba. His works are held in major collections in Australia and worldwide.
Thompson has exhibited nationally and internationally, with recent exhibitions including The Other and Me, 2014, The Sharjah Museum, Sharjah; Australia, 2013, Royal Academy of Arts, London; We Bury Our Own, 2012–13, The Pitt Rivers Museum and Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, and Valencian Institute of Modern Art, Valencia; Hijacked III, 2012, QUAD Gallery, Derby; Shadow Life, 2012, Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre, Bangkok; and The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, 2010, 17th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney.
Christian Thompson is represented by Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne; Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney; and Future Perfect Gallery, Singapore.
Alana Kushnir is a Melbourne-based curator and lawyer. Kushnir holds both Arts and Law Degrees from the University of Melbourne and graduated with Distinction in Masters of Fine Art, Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2013. Alana Kushnir is Founder and Director of Art Law Agency, a boutique law firm and consulting agency providing services to artists, designers and other creative professionals, as well as collectors, non-profit and commercial galleries and museums. Art Law Agency provides legal advice on all areas related to art and creative practice, and also provides agency services in the forms of guidance, management and administrative support in procuring artists, artworks, exhibitions and other creative projects.
Hear Christian Thompson and Gene Sherman, Executive Director of SCAF, discuss the project and Christian’s practice in this short film.