Late viewing: Warwick Thornton
29 April 2022
Friday, 4-7pm (AEST)
185 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
Tue – Fri, 12pm – 5pm
Sat, 1pm – 5pm
Free, no bookings required
Join us for a late night viewing of Meth Kelly by Warwick Thornton.
Warwick Thornton’s bold video Meth Kelly explores how Australia’s colonial frontier narrative has been shaped by the imaginary heroic actions of the cult figure Ned Kelly.
The work continues Thornton’s confrontation with Australia’s colonial history by questioning the legitimacy of Kelly’s hero status through a modern reinterpretation of his moral persona. Subverting the national narrative that is rooted in the romance of a Western, Thornton transforms Kelly into a “meth head robbing a 7 Eleven”. In placing his protagonist in a banal (sub)urban delinquent realm, far removed from cult status, Thornton undermines Australia’s tendency to define its history by valorising colonial conquests.
The artist states, “The problem with our frontier, and the history of Australia – it was written by the people who were actually doing the shooting. So the copper is the one to actually write down what happened at a massacre. But he was the one with his finger on the trigger. No one believes the Aboriginal people about what happened. Sometimes, thankfully, some priest or some missionary wrote the truth. That’s our history.”
“a life in question will unfold
tattoo parlour to the tote of this glass pipe
the nation shall rise up
in a hail of burn outs, black eyes and southern crosses”
Created for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020)
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Warwick Thornton (AU)
Born 1970, Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Australia
Lives and works Alice Springs, Australia
The art of Warwick Thornton draws from his acclaimed career as a cinematographer and award winning film director. In his art practice, Thornton is interested in negotiating the presence in contemporary landscapes, and traces within colonial history, of indigenous Australians. His oeuvre utilises photography, film and video to conceptualise time, space, identity, memory, and the social condition.