Born in 1970 in Sydney, Australia. Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
With a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) from the University of Western Sydney, Nepean, Sydney (Australia, 1990-1993) and a MFA (Master of Fine Arts), from COFA, University of New South Wales, Sydney (Australia, 1998-1999), Brook Andrew is among the most renowned artists of the Australia and Pacific Asia contemporary art scene. Brook Andrew was the Artistic Director of the 22nd Biennial of Sydney, in 2020.
Brook Andrew has had several international exhibitions over the past years including Denkmal at the Australian Embassy in Berlin (Germany, 2018), Inside the Depths of the Unknown - A New Line of Interpretation which as part of Deviant Practice at the Van Abbe Museum, in Eindhoven (The Netherlands, 2017), Fuselage as part of L'Effet Boomerang at the Musée d'Ethnographie in Geneva (Switzerland, 2017), The Right to Offend is Sacred at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (Australia, 2017), EVIDENCE at the Museum of Applied Art and Sciences (MAAS) in Sydney (Australia, 2015), Sanctuary: The Tombs of the Outcasts at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Sydney (Australia, 2015), Intervening Time on the occasion of the 8th Edition of Asia-Pacific Triennal (APT8) in the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art - QAGOMA, Brisbane (Australia, 2015), Witness at the Lyon House Museum in Melbourne (Australia, 2014), De Anima in the Bendigo Regional Gallery and at the RMIT Design Hub in Melbourne (Australia, 2014), Les Trophées Oubliés in le Musée d'Aquitaine in Bordeaux (France, 2013), Jumping Castle War Memorial at the FeliXartMuseum in Dragenbos (Belgium, 2013), Earth House as part of Echigo-Tsumari Triennial where he was the national representant of Australia (Japan, 2012), Warang at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney (Australia, 2012).
His work has also been exhibited during many important exhibitions organized as in the Musée du Quai Branly - Jacques Chiract in Paris (France, 2020), at the 21st Biennale of Sydney (Australia, 2018), the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (Australia, 2017), the Yinchuan Biennale, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Yinchuan (China, 2016), the Museum of Archeology and and Anthropology in Cambridge (UK, 2016), the Museum de Lakhenhal in Leiden (The Netherlands, 2015), the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan, 2015), the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts - PICA (Australia, 2015), the TATE Britain in London (UK, 2015), the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne (Australia, 2015), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia in Madrid (Spain, 2014), the Künstlerhaus in Vienna (Austria, 2013), the National Museum of China in Beijing (China, 2013), the MOCA in Seoul, (South Korea, 2011), the 17th Biennale of Sydney (Australia, 2010), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney (Australia, 2012), the Iberia Center of Contemporary Art in Beijing (2010), the Jewish Museum (Berlin, Germany and Vienna, Austria, 2008), the Spertus Institute in Chicago (USA, 2008), the Smithsonian Institute - National Museum of Art History in Washington D.C (USA, 2007), the Fondation Ishibashi in Tokyo (Japan, 2007) or the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago (Chile, 2007).
Works by Brook Andrew have been acquired by Australian public and private collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, in Sydney; the National Gallery of Victoria, the Vizard Foundation Collection and the BHP Billiton Collection, in Melbourne; the National Portrait Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia, in Canberra; the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane; the Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide; and also the ARTBANK collections. The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul (South Korea) also acquired works by Brook Andrews for its collection.
In 2016, the Australian Research Council awarded Brook Andrew the prestigious bursary for his project; he was the winner of les Résidences Photographiques of le Musée du Quai Branly in 2016. In 2017, he profited of the Research Program « Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship » as part of the Smithsonian Institute (USA). He taught at the Monash Art, Design and Architecture (MADA), Monash University, in Melbourne (Australia). From 2017, July to 2018, June Brook Andrew had been invited in residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (Germany).
Brook Andrew has been represented by la Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels, since 2013.
Brook Andrew is considered to be a major figure in today's contemporary art scene in the Pacific Asia region and is known for his unique museum interventions and research activities in Europe. For the last 20 years, he has been developing an incredibly meaningful artistic approach based on meticulous research work. Through the in-depth analysis of Western prevailing narratives, their vernacular objects and image reproductions, Brook Andrew pays an inquisitive attention to colonial history and the various imperialistic ideologies. He draws from these international public and private collections and at times collaborates with local communities in order to reflect upon these historical documents. He then isolates them from their scientific background and transfers them into the contemporary art scene. By doing so, he highlights their extreme relevance in regard to our present time.
From old postcards, to documentary photographs, newspaper clips, vinyl records, old school books, objects with powerful meanings, and souvenirs photos of indigenous peoples, the reactivation of these artifacts inevitably intervenes the dominant narrative of our Western colonial legacy. Once exhumed and repurposed, the objects are spirited with new juxtapositions and the power to create new and diverse stories. Our function is to re-address and re-interpret these new juxtapositions in order to think freely on new possibilities. Indeed movements like Modernism have set particular dominant trains of thought that programs 'our' world; here the artist questions the value of such movements as an opportunity to re-adress the imbalance of noted and other worldly important movements and possibilities. The artworks become more than a finite witness to a definite period of time, and is expanded to challenge dominant narratives, while the original intention of their authors is inexorably altered.
The artist firmly believes he is an artist of the world, not defined by one place. Though his mixed cultural ancestry such as Scottish, Irish, Jewish and Australian Aboriginal, informs his practice. His interest in a post-colonial context, the many lineages that forged his identity and shaped his arts practice, is indeed a strong platform to compare the histories of the Asia Pacific with those of the rest of the world relying on ideas of comparisons to other international concerns raised by artists such as Christian Boltanski and Jenny Holzer. The Wiradjuri pattern -recurring in Brook Andrew's work- comes from the Aboriginal woodcarvings (dendroglyphs) of New South Wales, home state of the artist's mother, and has inspired the artist's black and white hypnotic pattern. On another hand, the Sapelli wood he uses for his frames evokes the sudden scarcity of this African resource after it fed the business of modern furniture in fashion back in the 1950's.
Through a consistent and very well documented multidisciplinary practice, Brook Andrew creates impactful artworks and singularly immersive exhibitions. His on-going quest to provide spectators with alternatives to - individually and collectively- interpret the world as well as our heritages.