Untitled (Nordischefreikörperkultur)
Wallace Art Awards 2010

The concept of juxtaposing diverse elements, including primitive artefacts, was a strategy also used by Surrealists. The seemingly haphazard arrangement of Surreal objects is defined by Breton as le hasard objectif (‘objective chance’)—the point of intersection between inner desires and external reality (1). Taking on board the Surrealist concept of objective chance as well as using Max Walker’s Conference as a starting point, my intention for Untitled (Nordischefreikörperkultur) was to illustrate the highly complex and dynamic relationships that develop when juxtaposing heterogeneous elements from Western and non-Western cultures.

From within this framework, I hoped to create works that reflected such borderline environments that combine and recombine the elements of traditional ethnic forms with ‘tasteful’ modern interiors. Here, the intention is to develop new hybrids and contexts that solicit multiple intertextual readings. The ethnographic imagery for Untitled (Nordischefreikörperkultur) was sourced online and developed out of artefacts of African and Asian origin. The interior ‘lounge room’ setting was based upon research I had conducted within the Architecture Library at The University of Auckland, which has since become an invaluable resource for subsequent new work.

The title Untitled (Nordischefreikörperkultur) is a reference to Jon Hammer’s graphic novel The Drowned Girl (1990) – a portrayal into the bizarre, paranoid and hallucinatory world of its main protagonist who, much like Surrealist notions of ‘objective chance’, collages together fragments from random unrelated events to create new realities.

1. Elza Adamowicz, Surrealist Collage in Text and Image: Dissecting the Exquisite Corpse (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) 12.