Brook Andrew

'Peace & Hope' Gabrielle Pizzi Gallery
Level 3, 75-77 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, July 2005
Aboriginal boxer Anthony Mundine has been printed large on a poster. His image, chest and face, one bold signifier stretched out on the wall. Muscle, blackness, anger, pride, arrogance, violence, sport, identity, power, history. His image seems to provoke the discourses of contemporary Aboriginality. Mundine is both maligned and celebrated. A subject of conflict. On the internet I found something Mundine had written and it seemed to be what the image was saying, “I wasn’t outspoken and that back then. I didn’t have the confidence I have now.”.
Rob McKenzie
see Lowe's comment related to these images
see Ashley Crawford's comment


Anonymous Geoff Lowe said...

Anthony Mundine has lost his arms like a Greek statue in a fog or wash of art. Kind of crucifixion. I don't know too much about boxing. I feel like Im being confronted or accused by someone who is powerless. I want to know more.

3:30 AM  
Anonymous avalonartist said...

Geoff, don't waste your time. Mundine is a rather pathetic Ali impersonator without the wit or skills. When he lost his title bout, Australia cheered. True.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous geoff Lowe said...

These times make it so easy to dismiss each other. I’ve got the time to waste on this it’s not as though I’m so busy that I can’t enquire more. I’m looking to know how the posted image on the left (Winmar) can be represented in our culture more than the one on the right (Williams). I’m not only interested in Mundine but what Brook Andrew is dealing with.
A sports administrator said about the sacked Mundine “We support free speech, but free speech to say that you approve the killing of innocent people, that is not free speech.” My only understanding is that Bush and Blair’s free speech has led to the killing of a lot of innocent people in two counties in recent times. It’s not so much I want to get into divisive banter about all this but more to consider a reality as a subject for art. To begin here to find a way of talking that doesn’t cover everything up.

1:47 AM  
Anonymous Ashley Crawford said...

For this latest series of silkscreens Brook Andrew
works the medium to its extremes. Graphic in extremis,
Andrew steals an old Andy Warhol tactic, layering the
work with diamond dust along with graphite and
Swarvoski Crystals, something Warhol did in the 1980s
with his Myths series. But while Warhol’s myths were
those of 20th Century American culture, Andrew’s
designs here incorporate a mythology of a very
different kind. He has taken on board designs from his
mother’s country, Wiradjuri in New South Wales. These
are designs that have been incorporated again and
again by the white fella in the kitsch representations
of Aboriginal culture seen on everything from
tea-towels to faked boomerangs and shields. In a
circular postmodern twist Andrew has in fact
essentially re-appropriated designs from his own
family’s lineage. The zig zag patterns represent a
distinct style of language. But Andrew has long been a
player of linguistics; the use of both Wiradjuri and
English words hail back to his earlier works created
in neon. But even with an element of the bitter,
Andrew tackles his subjects with aspects of humour and
wry amusement. For Andrew language is a weapon, at
times literally portrayed as ammunition, such as when
words as ‘Composer’ and ‘Kalmaldain’ are fired from
pistols. The overall effect is an optical tsunami,
part political poster reminiscent of the street
messages of Guy Debord and the Situationists, at other
times a more light-hearted pot-pouri of emblazoned
colour and word trickery that would make James Joyce
or William S. Burroughs proud.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Brother Nathan said...

Come on Ashley, Art Collector isn't paying 45 cents a word for this pap: "For this latest series of silkscreens Brook Andrew works the medium to its extremes. Graphic in extremis..." Either it's an extreme that's already been met [and a limit], or it's not "extreme" at all. Leave off the hyperbole will you...

3:13 PM  
Blogger brook andrew said...

well. it's interesting how 'the Man' image is gaining so much attention. i thought 'peace, the man and hope' would do this. the arms r off on mundine cause i had to split the original portrait of mundine in 3 screen print runs as there's not a big enough screen print in oz to allow me to do so. so...when the print came out without arms, i liked it. it's just an artist in progress thing. i don't know if any of u have been to mundines gym at the block, but it's great. large posters of his father (who was also a great boxer), ali and others.

the photo shoot took place a week or so before his world title and he was on w 3 other guys, exhausting them. watching a world athlete was amazing. does this hurt ur ears avalonartist? yes, world champ, just like all those ozzy cozzy swimmers and that arguably racist hewitt, the champ and face of good ol ozzy values, sharing his wit and slander to our wonderful latin brothers in the recent tennis bash.

geoff, yes, the greek thing. i thought of that as soon as the print came out. and hence left the arms off. marcia langton and i have got together many a times and discussed the lack of natural beauty and support within the representation of an Aboriginal powerful figure. each to their own.

i'm also, like urself, passionate and intrigued by the bush blah weirdo thing that is happening and how we r all complicit. it's scary shit. with this recent work, peace and hope, i was inspired by berlins grace with tragedy. i'm not being romantic here, just inspired and also by that of the building of the recent new jewish memorial off the tiergarten in berlin, by pre-2nd world war russian constructivist movement, and war in palestine, australia and everywhere.

4:06 AM  
Blogger simon barney said...

I'm not in Melbourne so have only seen this on line. Last time I saw an image of Mundine on the wall was in a glass wholesaler I visit occasionally. It's one of those grindingly utilitarian industrial units. Over the years the only decor ever attempted was this double page tabloid spread of Mundine flat on his back after being knocked cold early in his career. I forget the triumphant banner headline.
Nobody's a racist of course - they'd just be people who say they hate his big headedness. But as with all things Mundine you never know when the tail's wagging the dog. He's read Ali's bio and Ali had learnt from a showman wrestler that the people who come to see you get whupped are still paying customers. Mundine has been a champion at every sport he tries but beyond that he seems some hybrid of revolutionary and entertainer. You could only dismiss him as Ali-lite if he wasn't needling a raw nerve in the local culture.
The photo is confusing - perhaps because I'm seeing it so small and immaterial it is at first horrifying - a man stripped to the waist to show the marks of his torture - like an uncensored evidentiary image. Perhaps in a gallery - where sophistication requires that you enter with your intellect to the fore, it'd be different. I'd first get the statuary reference, the gilded black adonis and the metaphor of power. Perhaps in a gallery I'd even reject the image - view the slicing as an abuse not of the boxer but, with its hyperbole, of the viewer.
Online at least, it seems elusive. Andrew's printing accident has turned what once must have been a cocky pose into something uncertain - even sad. It sticks with you.

3:15 AM  
Blogger brook andrew said...

the show is at stills gallery until 3 sept. if ur in sydney i think u might enjoy it. then u can see the portait in context.

every ozzy has something wonderfully vain to say about mundine, let it be him liking ali or not. ego fills many a sports hero. after all, it's 'ego' which fills ozzy's tricks of the trade (cricket, tennis, golf, swimming etc> along with their fashion and bling bling ranges): and that doesn't start or stop at mundine. it's hard to look at one's own culture, or should i say, 't's too easy to look at one's culture, when positioning 'others' is much easier.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous flippa said...

..of-course you can liken mundine to ali..or rather claim that mundine has appropriated an 'obvious influence'..but mundine isn't living in the large sub-set of anglo-australian 'normality'.
the lack of representation of non-anglo australians in the media and narrative arts means that every non-anglo australian who chances to be placed in the public eye or spotlight..will inevitably and inextricably be a spokesperson for his/her race/cultural group or mob...whether they like it or not.
mundine knows that he is a political figure...and as a black man, that makes him potentially dangerous.
in some cultures, the cutting off of arms is a 'silencing'.
to me, this piece has got me thinking about dismembered warriors, fallen gods, the spanish inquisition, biblical archetypes like samson..and other mythologies.
and yet it is not necessarily a passive allegorical piece. it's present-political.
i think brooks' 'the man' is as challenging as it is thought provoking - i like how brook fessed up to it being a 'happy accident'...just goes to show, maybe the process is 90% observation.

i like.

3:12 PM  
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2:02 AM  

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