Dear Sincere Friend
Opening 09.01.19 6-8pm
Artist Talks 31.01.19 6-7pm
The Parthenon Marbles have been held in the Duveen Gallery of the British Museum since 1816. While Greece was under Ottoman occupation, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin and ‘sincere friend’ of Ottoman rulers, originally removed portions of the Parthenon frieze, metopes and other significant artefacts from the Athenian Acropolis as English ambassador. The moral and legal justifications for such actions have been the subject of ongoing controversy. And though there is growing support for the return of the marbles to their original home in Athens even among the English population, the actualisation of this vision seems as distant as it has ever been.
Christie’s latest work began after being removed from the British Museum for attempting to take unapproved 3D scans of its main attraction, the Parthenon Marbles. These scans have since been manipulated and reproduced using 3D printing and appropriated as a form of cultural reclamation. This practice has been further developed for Firstdraft by engaging more deeply with alternative histories, employing virtual reality to re-envision the interior of the British Museum’s Duveen Gallery with assistance from the University of Southern California.
Christie has also sourced and recast ancient Greek coinage to replicate cheap souvenirs from the British Museum Gift Shop. This irreversible alteration to ancient artefacts speaks to the artists far-reaching interrogations of desire and hegemonic power. The works of Dear Sincere Friend tread the thin line between resignation and humour, worn down by the daunting possibility that the present state of bureaucratic and cultural deadlock surrounding the Parthenon Marbles conflict is unalterable, while continuing to offer renewed hopes and critical perspectives.
Andrew Christie is a Sydney-based artist whose multidisciplinary practice expresses the ability of aesthetics to occupy and negotiate political landscapes while paradoxically admitting the futility of arts own efficacy. Often addressing his cultural heritage or engaging in community-based practice, his works offer a subtle humour in contrast to the often sombre or unforgiving subject matter. Ironic forms of transgression urge the viewer to think beyond the limits of divisive political opposition. Christies practice has involved the publishing of cultural rule books in relation to the Cyprus Conflict, the literal collection and utilisation of dust from library archives, running full-length marathons within museum walls and transforming notable locals from the Mid-West New South Wales town of Kandos into miniatures to be sold as part of his Public Figures series. Christie as recently returned from an Ignite Studio Residency with the Northern Rivers Community Gallery which will see him return in 2019 to exhibit the culmination of works developed in collaboration with ‘SPRUNG’, a dance and theatre company for people with disabilities.
As of 2018, Christie has completed a Master of Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney.
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