Brook Andrew

Brook Andrew, artist news, exhibitions and artworks

Catching Breath | Australian Tapestry Workshop & the Australian High Commission in Singapore.

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2015 marks the 50th year of independence for Singapore. Catching Breath, commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is exhibited at the the Australian High Commissioner’s Residence to celebrate Singapore’s bilateral relationship with Australia.

Catching Breath, invokes questions about the meaning of identity, culture and social values.

Bhakti Puvanenthiran’s review published in The Age is accessible here.

Catching Breath is a veiled portrait of a seemingly unknown subject. The act and presence of the veil is well known to conceal or represent faith, culture and social values. In Catching Breath the veiled subject peers through the veil with eyes clearly focused on the outside. This eye communication catches our attention, our breath as we decided whether or not to lift the subjects’ veil, to reveal the unknown.

The original portrait is from the artist Brook Andrew’s archive of rare books, postcards and paraphernalia. This archive is an active medium that is massaged into the artist museum installations and exhibitions. In this case Catching Breath is well hidden below the veil of time, though one can lift it if they dare, dare to reveal the past, the curiosity, the known and unknown, the mystery.

This design will be woven in two parts – on the left loom the tapestry will be woven, and the veil on the right loom. Both these parts will be woven with the same palette, however the veil will be a thinner shaped piece, woven with a even weave (warp and weft visible in even amounts) and in a technique similar to cloth weaving. The veil will be woven with a visible black warp specially dyed at the Workshop and silver Lurex thread will be used.

Proudly supported by the Tapestry Foundation of Australia and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this project will be the latest addition to our Embassy Tapestry Program and will be going on loan to the Australian High Commission in Singapore.

Brook Andrew and Chris Cochius gave a talk about the making of Catching Breath on the 25th of August 2014, to watch the talk click here.

Text: Australian Tapestry Workshop

Written by brookandrew

February 17, 2015 at 4:43 AM

‘do it (adelaide)’ | artist instructions at Samstag Museum

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do it (adelaide)

Conceived by European curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and managed by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York, do it (adelaide) will be the latest incarnation of this global art project.

do it began in Paris in 1993 as a result of a discussion between Obrist and artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier about how to make exhibitions flexible and open-ended. Would an artist’s work be transformed if others made the artwork?

Each do it exhibition is uniquely site-specific because it engages the local community in a dialogue that responds to and adds a new set of instructions, while it remains global in the scope of its ever-expanding repertoire. This also means that the generative and accumulative aspects of do it’s ongoing presentation are less concerned with notions of the “reproduction” or materiality of the artworks than with revealing the nuances of human interpretation in its various permutations and iterations. In this way, do it is able to bridge the gaps between the temporalities of past, present and future.

This open exhibition model has become the longest-running and most far-reaching exhibition to ever take place, giving new meaning to the concept of the “Exhibition in Progress.”

do it (adelaide)
Friday 13 February – Saturday 25 April 2015
Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art

Text from: Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art and Independent Curators International

Written by brookandrew

February 17, 2015 at 3:40 AM

You’re invited: De Anima closing celebration with a special performance by Luke George

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De Anima Closing Celebration

Wednesday 11th February
5.30 – 7.30 pm
Performance at 6pm sharp.

RMIT Design Hub
Level 2, Entry via the forecourt.

Luke George responds to De Anima with a performance that explores ideas for future collaborations at Design Hub.

Written by brookandrew

February 6, 2015 at 1:12 AM

Last chance to see DE ANIMA : RMIT DESIGN HUB …closes Valentines Day 14 Feb 2015!

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Photography by Tobias Titz

Exhibition » 12.12.2014 – 14.02.2015

This exhibition is the outcome of an experimental process between Brook Andrew and RMIT Design Hub to develop a new body of work – Horizon I, II, III and IV – specifically for the Design Hub Project Rooms. The two-channel version of the video De Anima, originally produced for The Cinemas Project, now includes a new third video channel. The experience is one of a merging of fiction and truth, challenging and blurring the space between sculpture, video and performance. This exhibition also includes live performances by Justin Shoulder and Mama Alto who appear in the De Anima video.

Andrew is a conjurer of processes and has spent his career researching, collaborating and divining architecture, photography and museological archives to create immersive experiences.

Horizon I, II and III is an installation of found films and a ‘living archive’ that appears in a state of transition: set-like and yet ready for activation. The exhibition also includes Horizon IV, a collaboration with RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles to produce a set of veils that can be worn by exhibition visitors.

Written by brookandrew

February 2, 2015 at 6:31 AM

De Anima to be presented at RMIT Design Hub and associated to RECHARGE: the Experimenta 6th International Biennial of Media Art

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De Anima, 2014 (3 channel video and performance) to be presented at RMIT Design Hub and associated to  RECHARGE: the Experimenta 6th International Biennial of Media Art
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DE ANIMA by Brook Andrew is a major new video installation originally presented as part of The Cinemas Project, Bendigo Art Gallery in 2014 and curated by Bridget Crone. De Anima will be re-contextualised for its inaugural presentation in Melbourne at RMIT Design Hub through a program led by Brook Andrew in collaboration with RMIT Design Hub researchers and included as part of RECHARGE: the Experimenta 6th International Biennial of Media Art. Entering the installation, visitors will become lost in between worlds of fictions and truths, challenging and blurring the space between photography, sculpture, video and performance. De Anima pressures the visitor to be immersed in its midst by donning a costume and being ready to experience a new view as the small eyes in a forest, and perhaps understanding why this world seems awkward for some and a revelation for others. 

De Anima includes an ambitious new video with score composed by Theodore Wohng, performed by Benny Dimas and Justin Shoulder and collaging found archival film footage, alongside a series of photographic images and sculptural forms. De Anima offers us an immersive environment to ponder human ego, time, historical ‘facts’ and our responsibility to linking thinking and feeling.

The project aims to question the way in which representations – or pictures of those around us – are produced, digested and reproduced. De Anima questions the power of visual footage and how it is used to persuade ‘us’ to take sides through stereotypes, propaganda and masking other views of earth, war, colonialism, ancestry, the Australian psyche and humanity. Is what ‘we’ believe a real act of reality? 

The commissioning of this ambitious work, comes at a significant moment in Andrew’s career following his exhibition 52 Portraits in Melbourne and Paris, his curated exhibition TABOO at MCA, Sydney, and his upcoming exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

RECHARGE: the Experimenta 6th International Biennial of Media Art, focuses on artists whose work is consciously inspired by and entangled with the past and who use the most contemporary of tools. Recharge asks does knowledge change when it is presented in different cultural contexts and technological forms? By producing unconventional perspectives, can experimental artists illuminate existing knowledge and meaning for a new generation? Can artists lead us to entirely new modes of consciousness?

The exhibition presents works from more than 15 acclaimed Australian and international artists, featuring many new artworks. Media art is inherently multidisciplinary, born out of the processing power of computer technology that made possible, for the first time, a substantial interplay between various media and practices. For the Experimenta 6th International Biennial of Media Art, Artistic Director Jonathan Parsons has selected works that draw from photography, installation, electronic sculpture, interactive and immersive media, robotics, bio art, live art, sound art, 3D printing, animation, film and video.

“The artists in the Experimenta 6th International Biennial of Media Art are alert to both the intimate and the broader cultural contexts through which they move and live. By listening, watching, thinking and making, they recharge knowledge and meaning systems, reinvigorating these systems or radically transforming them. “ [Jonathan Parsons, Artistic Director]

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CATALYST: Katherine Hannay Visual Arts Commission
A NETS Victoria exhibition curated by Bridget Crone for The Cinemas Project

De Anima, 2014, is a new 3 channel video work with performance. De Anima includes sculpture, performance and installation. De Anima the video is comprised of found archival film footage and newly filmed footage to reflect on Aristotle’s text on The Soul or De Anima.

Please note this video artwork contains images of people who may be deceased from indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures from the Pacific, Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and America.

Brook Andrew’s major new work De Anima immerses us in a world of images and sensations. It asks us to question the way we see the world and to consider a new view. Drawing upon Andrew’s extensive personal archive of home movies, war propaganda, ecological and pseudo-anthropological films, De Anima combines and recombines these images with newly shot footage that creates a theatre of sensations: of light, of sound, of image, of images that we feel. Upon entering De Anima, we are immersed in a world of sound and image, and we accept an invitation to see the world anew.

Andrew has worked with performers Mama Alto and Justin Shoulder as well as composer Theodore Wohng (and an extensive crew) to produce the world of De Anima. Each was invited to respond to the question of the soul and the result is a richly, theatrical and world in which difference is celebrated, and the spirit or soul runs riot.

De Anima references one of the great philosophical treatises, Aristotle’s “On The Soul”, in which the soul is considered to be the essence of every living thing (rather than simply belonging to human subjects). Andrew interprets this as a call to consider our responsibility to the life around us in all its myriad forms. We must consider, the artist says, “that humanity is essentially doomed if it sticks to its current course.” In asking us to experience the world differently, Andrew shows us a way that we might embrace our interconnected place in the world, and consider a new worldview.

De Anima is presented as part of The Cinemas Project – a programme of new contemporary art works by five of Australia’s leading artists who include: Mikala Dwyer, Lily Hibberd, Bianca Hester and Tom Nicholson. The artwork produced for The Cinemas Project takes the form of live performance and film replicating the nature of the activity that once took place in many of the early cinema buildings which were at once a meeting place, a theatre, a dance hall as well as a cinema.

The Cinemas Project responds to what we have termed, the spectral spaces of cinema. Spectral suggests ghosts, apparitions, colour and light but is also linked to day-dreaming, speculation and, of course, imagination. The “spectral spaces of cinema” therefore refers to the diverse temporal spaces that are opened up both within the narratives of film, and by acts of reminiscence and memory. The Cinemas Project is therefore not a collection of works about cinema but a series of works that approach ideas of what cinema is, has been and could be…

Director: Brook Andrew
Film Consultant: Paola Morabito
Cinematographer: Bonnie Elliott
Editor: Billy Browne
Performers: Justin Shoulder & Mama Alto
Assistant Producer & Production Manager:
Stéphanie Kabanyana
Sound Recordist & Engineer: Nik Harrison
Camera Assistant & Focus Puller: Sky Davies &
Ben Bryan
Grips: Llew Higgins & Dan Mitton
Composer: Theodore Wohng
Set Designer: Bryn Meredith & Brook Andrew
Studio Manager: Trent Walter
Costume Design: Justin Shoulder &
Matthew Stegh
Costume Assistance: Ami Shoulder
Set Assistant: Rosie Kilvert
Cutting Edge
Nick Godoy at Panavision
Bronwyn Ketels at Cutting Edge
Nic van den Bronk
Anne Walsh
Kieran Dionysus
Hanging Rock Park
Kooyoora State Park

Written by brookandrew

November 5, 2014 at 12:06 PM

Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid.

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October 29, 2014 – February 9, 2015 

A Solid Memory of the Forgotten Plains of our Trash and Obsessions, 2014, is a new installation commissioned for the exhibition Really Useful Knowledge at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, curated by WHW (What, How and for Whom).

The commissioned work draws on the collections of archives from the artist and the Museo Reina Sofia, Museo de América and Museo Nacional de Antropología and also include existing works Anatomie de la mémoire du corps : au-delà de la Tasmanie, 2013, first exhibited at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris in 2013.

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WHW, Museo Reina Sofia source: The notion of “really useful knowledge” emerged at the beginning of the 19th century alongside the workers’ awareness of the need for self-education. In the 1820s and 1830s, working class organisations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various “unpractical” disciplines such as politics, economy and philosophy, as opposed to the “useful knowledge” proclaimed by business owners who had previously begun to invest more heavily in their companies’ progress through financing workers’ education in “applicable” disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics. In this reference to the long-forgotten class struggles of early capitalism, the title of the exhibition suggests an inquiry into “really useful knowledge” from a contemporary perspective.

The exhibition endeavours to position the notion of critical pedagogy as a crucial element in collective struggles, and explore the tension between individual and social emancipation through education with examples that are both historical and current, and their relation to organisational forms capable of leading unified resistance to the reproduction of capital. In doing so, the exhibition highlights the collective utilization of public resources, action and experiments, either forgotten or under threat of eradication, taking the museum as a pedagogical site devoted to the analysis of artistic forms interconnected with actual or desired social relations.

Organised by Museo Reina Sofía within the framework of “The Uses of Art,” a project by the European museum network L’Internationale.

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Brook Andrew:

The aim of this A Solid Memory of the Forgotten Plains of our Trash and Obsessions, 2014, is to create a new installation using archives and art objects that reflect on a cohesive memorial style installation to jog and juxtapose new and existing memories and knowledge that will challenge and perhaps confuse what we perceive as real and imagined to further explore what is ‘useful’ memory in important historically nation changing events. The focus of this research and installation is a comparison between a Spanish and Australian use of, and reflection on, what currently exists as metaphors to remembering the past: how we remember it and to what extent it can be either destroyed or created. Who has the power to create and destroy a monument in remembering particular histories that include fascism, and alternative revolutionary histories?

This project compares visibility to issues of cultural amnesia and monuments in Australia and Spain. The aim of this project is through focused research to create a major new installation using archives and art objects that reflect on a specific idea of ‘cultural amnesia’ that raises public awareness of traumatic life-changing events often absent in monuments and museums. The research outcomes in Madrid will inform the installation outcome in combining personal, private and Spanish community archives, found and borrowed objects, artworks from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and neighbouring Spanish museums.

Research will draw parallels between an Australian and Spanish view of history that is deeply rooted within the idea of ‘cultural amnesia’: how current monuments disappear or do not exist and how the memory of these events is debated through public and community organisations. The lack of notable acknowledgement and visibility of monuments and markers are often absent due to politically strategic conservative thought and historical education government services. This political strategy greatly effects public memory, visibility, struggle and responsibility across communities and societies. The monument is arguably an important and visible marker for all; if no monument exists, cultural amnesia prevails. Therefore it is often through public community and non-for profit organisations where action is upheld within the public eye, often strategies and events that are seen as ‘disruptive’ to the public or scrutinized as disturbing the peace or concocting and exaggerating truths of history. The question here is: Who’s truth is the real?

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Written by brookandrew

October 25, 2014 at 1:01 PM

‘Really Useful Knowledge’, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

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Brook Andrew to exhibit in the group exhibition Really Useful Knowledge at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

Really Useful Knowledge
29 October 2014–23 February 2015

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Following text from

The notion of ‘really useful knowledge‘ originated with the rise of the workers’ awareness of the need for self-education in the early 19th century, when workers’ organizations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various ‘unpractical’ disciplines such as politics, economics and philosophy, as opposed to the alleged ‘useful knowledge’ proclaimed by business owners, who had begun investing in their companies’ development through funding the education of their employees in ‘applicable’ skills and disciplines. In its reference to the long-forgotten class struggles of  capitalism’s early years, the title of the exhibition suggests an inquiry into ‘really useful knowledge’ from a contemporary perspective.

Really Useful Knowledge (curated by What, How and for Whom?/WHW) starts from the position that the ‘battle for education’ was always central for “the very survival of socialism as the pedagogy of a world-view,” and assesses the success of politics of recent social movements whose critical pedagogy has proved capable of illuminating the threats that capitalism poses for human lives, the environment and democracy. The exhibition thus probes into the tension between individual and social emancipation through education, structuring its explorations along several lines of inquiry related to historical and present instances of critical pedagogy in their relation to organisational forms capable of leading unified resistance to the reproduction of capital. In doing so, the exhibition insists on the collective utilization of existing public resources, actions, and experiments, either forgotten or under threat of eradication, taking the museum as a pedagogical site devoted to the analysis of artistic forms interconnected with actual or desired social relations and Benjamin’s ‘materialist education’ that posits cultural history at the core of class education.


Written by brookandrew

April 17, 2014 at 7:20 AM


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