Brook Andrew


Brook Andrew


Brook Andrew’s work questions the Western narrative, focusing on the Australian continent through colonialism. To carry out his projects, he works alongside communities, drawing inspiration from public and private archives and collections worldwide. He has worked using the collections of many museums, including the Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofia, the Museo de América and the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Madrid; the Musée d’Aquitaine in Bordeaux; the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney; the Anthropological Institute in London; the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge; and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Vienna.

His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Künstlerhaus in Vienna, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and, recently, the Museum De Lakenhal in the Netherlands and the Tate Britain in London.

Brook Andrew is represented by Tolarno Galleries (Melbourne) and the Nathalie Obadia gallery (Paris – Brussels).


Resident and Visitor

2015 Photographic Residencies

The series Resident and Visitor examines two related themes at the heart of Brook Andrew’s work: the question of the identification of the subjects photographed in the colonial period and the complexity of the relationship between the ‘visitor’ — a European photographer — and the ‘native’ model.

For this project, the artist chose to work with the photographic collections of the musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac to collect images of Australian Aboriginals during the colonial period, as well as contextual and historical information about these portrayals. As Brook Andrew discovered this extensive collection of historical photographs, his aim quickly broadened and he decided to enlarge his study to include the four continents represented in the museum’s collections.

With the series Resident and Visitor, Brook Andrew has widened his scope of exploration by creating a third level of interpretation. In these metatheatrical scenes, the photographed models — modern-day subjects of multiple origins — compare an image of a ‘resident’ and a ‘visitor’, both having been chosen by Brook Andrew from the selection of photographs in the museum’s collections. The historical photographs are shifted from their status of a witness of colonisation to create an echo of contemporary questions of identity. The artist thus questions our relationship to these old photographs, and updates the question of access to archives, as in many of his works.

Series produced in 2016.

Kalar Midday - Replicant

Photoquai 2009

Brook Andrew’s work questions colonial and modern-day history in a surprising way. His series Replicant and Kalar Midday touch on the founding myths of Australia’s aboriginal tribes. For the Wiradjuri people, the earth was originally plunged into darkness until the people of the skies asked the laughing Kookaburra birds to sing their raucous song and remind them to light up the world each day. The men and animals — suspended in darkness and set in place by the artist in his photographs — are ready for this new dawn.

The series Kalar Midday — the name of the lands belonging to the Wiradjuri people — deals with the issue of sexuality, emphasising physical beauty, a dimension that is generally absent from depictions produced by Aboriginals. For Brook, the darkness of these photographs reveals a dream world, a place of happiness and powerful spirits.