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Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Sunshine, Victoria, March 26, 1961, d London, Dec 31, 1994).

Australian fashion designer and performance artist. He arrived in Britain from Australia in 1980 and set up as a fashion designer in London’s Kensington Market, selling clothes he had made with his partner. His regular and increasingly outlandish appearances on the club circuit led to his opening the club Taboo in Leicester Square in 1985, within which he developed his performing persona. In 1988 he made his first foray into the mainstream London art scene with a one-week performance at the Anthony D’Offay Gallery. Every afternoon for one week Bowery improvised a performance in front of a one-way mirror, wearing a different costume each time and accompanied by a soundtrack of traffic sounds; the narcissism of his outlandish preening and posing, exposed to the audience with a literal transparency, was all the more comical and outrageous given his large and ungainly appearance. His subsequent performances include an appearance in 1993...

Article

Paul Foss

(b Santiago, Oct 6, 1946).

Australian painter and performance artist of Chilean birth. He studied law and fine arts at the University of Chile. Following the coup of 1973, he arrived in Melbourne as a tourist after meeting an Australian in Buenos Aires, and later took up residence. He exhibited widely in Australia, Europe, and South America, returning frequently to Chile, which, thematically and politically, remained a focus for his art. He worked primarily with the quotation of cultural ephemera (e.g. newspaper photographs, advertisements, etc.). Originally noted for his adaptations of Pop art in an effort to rewrite the international history of painting from a provincial or Third World perspective, he increasingly developed a hybrid pictorial language that refused the strict confines of Modernism or Postmodernism, seen, for example, in Fable of Australian Painting (1982–1983; U. Sydney, Power Gal. Contemp. A.). His art deals with fragments, attempting to present a utopia of narrative from another place and time. In canvases such as ...

Article

C. Barton

(b Nelson, Dec 8, 1951).

New Zealand sculptor and performance artist. He studied at the University of Waterloo, Ontario (1974–6), and at the University of Edinburgh (1975). Between 1976 and 1981 he worked primarily as a performance artist. Using gallery spaces and other locations outside the institutional framework, he undertook a variety of ritual activities involving a carefully selected range of materials—bones, skin, willow, copper and wax—which he used to explore the connections between human and animal, natural and cultural, in an attempt to restore a psychic and physical balance between the two. Earth Vein (1980) is a performance and photodocumentation piece in which Drummond inserted 500 m of copper pipe into a disused water-race in a remote region of Central Otago. By sealing each segment of pipe with muslin and beeswax, he metaphorically alluded to the healing of the body, a gesture that clearly articulated his attitude to the land....

Article

Australian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1947.

Painter, performance artist. Figures.

Ivan Durrant produces provocative photo-realist paintings and sculptures of animals that force viewers to acknowledge the butchery involved in the production of meat. In his seminal 1975 work, he left the bloody carcass of a cow outside the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne....

Article

Blair French

Australian group of performance, video and installation artists. The four members of The Kingpins, Angelica Mesiti (b 1976), Técha Noble (b 1977), Emma Price (b 1975) and Katie Price (b 1978), met as students at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in Sydney in the 1990s. Their first public performance as The Kingpins took place in early 2000. Later that year they won the Drag Kings Sydney competition. Their early performances involved sophisticated, dynamic and highly entertaining ‘dragging’ of overtly masculine music genres, such as gangsta rap and hard rock. This was continued in related video works emerging from their performances, extending their mimicry into the realm of music video art direction. This approach culminated in the video installation work Versus (2002), in which, in a confident act of appropriation, The Kingpins reworked a 1993 karaoke performance by Leigh Bowery’s performance group Raw Sewage of Aerosmith’s ‘Walk this Way’ (...

Article

Bernice Murphy

(b Sydney, July 19, 1945).

Australian conceptual and performance artist, film maker and writer. He began writing poetry as a student at Queensland University (1965–6). Although he attended the National Art School at Darlinghurst, Sydney (1968), he was largely self-taught as an artist. He first became known for his conceptual works, filmed actions and performances and typescript pieces in 1971–2, when he ran Inhibodress, an alternative art space in Sydney, with artist Peter Kennedy (b 1945). In 1972 he travelled abroad for the first time for about a year, making Vienna his base (as he did again in 1977–8). In 1973 he carried out performances in Lausanne and Neuchâtel, Switzerland. These works (and the associated filmed record) were collectively entitled Performances, Actions, Video Systems and developed out of previous Sydney works: Word Situations (1971) and Idea Demonstrations (1971–2).

On returning to Australia Parr incorporated recent filmed records of performances into much larger, autobiographical film projects that occupied most of his artistic energy for ten years, producing three substantial, experimental films: ...

Article

Stelarc  

Juliana Engberg

[ Arkadiou, Stelios ]

(b Limassol, June 19, 1946).

Australian performance artist of Cypriot birth. Stelarc is his legal name. Stelarc immigrated to Australia in 1950 and after gaining a teacher training certificate in Art and Craft went on to study Art and Technology at Caulfield Technical College and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), both in Melbourne. After moving to Japan in 1970, he taught art and sociology at Yokohama International School, returning to Australia to teach sculpture and drawing at Ballarat University College. In 1995 Stelarc was awarded a three-year fellowship from the Australia Council for the Arts. He was appointed Honorary Professor of Art and Robotics at the Carnegie–Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in 1997. In 1998 he was artist in residence for the City of Hamburg, Germany. Other appointments and residencies have included Ohio State University and MARCS Auditory Laborartories at the University of Western Sydney, Perth, Australia. In 2010 Stelarc was awarded the Ars Electronica, Golden Nic, in the category ‘Hybrid Art’, from the City of Linz, Austria....

Article

Chinese-Australian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1956, in Hong Kong.

Painter, performance artist, writer. Multimedia.

John Zerunge Young emigrated from Hong Kong for Australia in 1967 during Hong Kong’s period of unrest and riots. He spent his formal school years in Sydney and went on to study philosophy at the city’s university. His interest in painting, however, remained a constant part of his early childhood, and he furthered his studies in painting and sculpture at the Sydney College of the Arts. It was there that he came into contact with a number of leading visual artists of the time, including the conceptual artist Imants Tillers. Young’s investigation into Western late modernism prompted a period in which his works dealt with themes of his dual nationality and the diasporic Chinese communities in Australia. Young has participated in many regional group travelling exhibitions. In ...