Exhibitions / Archibald Prize 2016

16.07.2016 to 09.10.2016

"In my practice I invent fictional identities and alternate versions of myself to assist with the creative act. In The Restless Dead (portrait of the artist), I appear in the guise of the invented Norwegian artist Tor Rasmussen. Tor is a difficult character to inhabit- he has a wild and oppositional disposition, but since his first appearance in 2014 he has gradually wormed his way under my skin, to the point where the two of us have become inseparable. The Restless Dead is, effectively, a self-portrait.

Tor has featured in much of my work of the last two years, as a figure in photographic and textual documentation, and importantly, as a creative force who I’ve used to generate imagery and text for my practice. Once in character, ideas and forms spill out that would otherwise be unlikely to appear, which I save and use in future work.

Increasingly, the clear separation of identity that once existed between the two of us has broken down and he has become a comfortable presence, less threatening, less malicious, and less useful. In the backyard, on a moonlit night under a jacaranda tree, I get into character intending to get rid of him altogether. I plunge a carved wooden stake, a left-over from a previous sculptural installation, into my/his heart. This scene is documented in the painted book, but with a ripple, a kind of last gasp from Tor that forces the stake upwards, distorting my name and the title of the work. The result of the attempted exorcism is ambiguous.

Painted books have been a part of my painting practice since 2004, either self-authored or under pseudonym, giving me room to play with authorship, intention and meaning.

The Restless Dead recalls early 1980’s occult pulp-horror novels, where threatening, illusory forms creep at the edge of the real."

Chris Bond