Literatur in unserem Bestand

McLean, Ian und Bennett, Gordon: The Art of Gordon Bennett, Craftsmans House, Roseville NSW 1996, ISBN 905703221X

Inhaltsverzeichnis        ¦         Klappentext        ¦         Buchbesprechung


Acknowledgements -7-

Gordon Bennett: The Manifest Toe -9-

Ian McLean: Painting a History of the Self in Postcolonial Australia: Gordon Bennett's Existentialism -65-

Ian McLean: Philosophy and Painting: Gordon Bennett's Critical Aesthetic -73-

Ian McLean: Towards an Australian Postcolonial Art -97-

Footnotes -121-

Biography -128-

Bibliography -133-

List of Colour Plates -137-

List of Black and White Figures -139-


Gordon Bennett is an extraordinarily thoughtful and philosophical artist with an urgent sense of mission to understand both his own self and the future of the Australian nation. More directly and explicitly than any other Australian artist, he participates in the debate on republicanism, sovereignty (land rights) and citizenship which currently grips the Australian imagination, as the traditional understandings of what constitutes identity and the home are being radically questioned in Austalia and the rest of the world. If Bennett's art seeks answers to the plight of the world's indigenous peoples who have been made strangers in their own place, he recognises that colonialism has made extrangement a universal phenomenon. Non-Aboriginal Australians have also failed to negotiate an indigeneity for themselves. The force of Bennett's art is due to his ability to picture such urgent philosophical and historical questions of identity in a compelling personal way - such that Bennett's personal struggle with being an Australian of Aboriginal and Anglo-Celtic descent is crossed with the politics of the Australian nation. In this sense Bennett's project of self-redemption is analogous to one of national salvation because he will not be redeemed unless the place is. While it is a common-place today for artists to assume that there is no centred subject, Bennett is one of the few Australian artists to frame the condition of centrelessness in terms which are specific to the Australian experience of colonialism. If Bennett also recognises the indeterminancy and homelessness of his existence, he doesn't idealise it in a nostalgia for home, or the feedom of a postmodern in-betweeness, but locates it within the history of colonialism. His undoing of this history is not to repudiate the European vision, but to map a postcolonial future. The principle aesthetic idea of Bennett's art is that identity is staged by the ideological effects of language, and that the language codes of Western art, literature, law and science obscure as much as they reveal. All of Bennett's work is founded on the presumption that the language of ways of thinking of Western civilisation introduced by colonialism, is, for Aborigines, a prison-house they can not escape, but only appropriate. This is why a postmodernist aesthetic suits the purposes of Bennett's art: its deconstructive methodology provides ways to re-present what had been foreclosed by the history of Europeans bringing their civilisation to the antipodes. The political and philosophical purposes which Bennett puts his postmodernist aesthetic to has, in the last eight years, earned him a national and international reputation as Australia's most significant postcolonial painter.