BUSTED 2011 / Kudos Gallery (Sydney)

ARTIST STATEMENT

The title of this exhibition is both a pun and a reference point. The double reading of the word refers to both the sculptural term ‘Bust’ with the slang usage of ‘Busted’, a colloquialism for being caught by the police. As such, the exhibition focuses on the depiction of heads or busts of criminals who have been caught, imprisoned and demonized by society.

In effect the exhibition reads as a mass police lineup made up of Australian convicts from the First Fleet; a symbolic reference point concerning Australia’s complex history as both penal colony and place of geographical exile from England. The colonial framing of the exhibition is established through the juxtaposition of well-known colonists like Elizabeth Macquarie, European explorers including Burke and Wills and the historically silent convicts.

However, my interest is not in depicting the historical past; rather my concern is with exploring the relationship between Australia’s history and the performance of contemporary identity in Australia. The grotesque and monstrous heads on display in ‘Busted’ thus represent the possibility of Australia’s convict past reactivated in the present; the animation of the monstrous exile within ourselves.