Brook Andrew: The Forest

28 May - 23 June 2016 Cloître Saint-Merri I & II - Paris
Galerie Nathalie Obadia is delighted to present The Forest, Brook Andrew’s second exhibition at the gallery after Anatomy of a Body Record: Beyond Tasmania held in 2013, and a few months before his significant retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria of Melbourne, next March 2017.

Born in 1970, in Sydney, 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public and private collections and at times collaborates with local communities in order to reflect upon these historical documents.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.
For The Forest, Brook Andrew will present a selection of exclusive artworks from original archival sources of the his own collection – the SUNSET series for example- and from reproductions of the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology of Cambridge as well as the Musée du Quai Branly, where he has been awarded a residency as a Photography Residencies Laureate. The source images are then reproduced, worked on, painted over, resized, screenprinted and complemented with neon lights, collages, and other various objects.
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. The Forest prolongs his on-going quest to provide spectators with alternatives to – individually and collectively- interpret the world as well as our heritages.