In a very intelligent act of curation, the final wall of the 2020 Queensland Art Gallery exhibition Unfinished Business: The Art of Gordon Bennett ended with a blown-up and slightly abbreviated version of a notebook entry Bennett had originally made on 25 August 1990. Down the wall ran the statements “I am Gordon Bennett”, “I am Australian”, “I am Aboriginal”, “I am Human Being” and “I am Spirit”, all crossed out with a line through them, followed by a final “I am” uncrossed out and the artist’s initials again crossed out and the date of the original notebook entry.
In a sense, of course, the wall operated as the artist’s signature authenticating the show we had just seen before we left it, but how is it also an explanation of Bennett’s artistic practice altogether? Does that final “I am” stand outside of the failure of those previous attempted statements of identity or is it inseparable from it? Is Bennett suggesting that the subject is always this crossing-out or correction, indeed, this self-crossing out and -correction? Are we not all made up of opposites that we must attempt to reconcile, like “Aboriginal” and “Australian” and “Human Being” and “Spirit”? Are we not all divided in that way Bennett points out? And is it not perhaps in this self-division that we are all ultimately the same?
Event details
Event date: Thursday 12 May
Event time: 5.15pm for a 5.30pm start
Event location: The Terrace Room, Sir Llew Edwards Building
RSVP: Thursday 5 May 2022

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