Mike Parr
SALTO MORTALE: THE NOTHING SELF PORTRAITS

SALTO MORTALE: THE NOTHING SELF PORTRAITS
, 2007
Installation view
Click to enlarge

I began The Nothing Self Portraits by going back to my archive of study drawings of the 1980’s. Repetition was the starting point but almost immediately I began subsuming this material in a peculiar way, because my strongest impulse was to over draw the copy, not to obliterate it but to take the process of drawing beyond what was required. I often found myself drawing beyond the point where the likeness of the likeness had been established, and it was out of this excess that individual drawings and the series as a whole emerged.

I kept thinking two contradictory thoughts. Firstly, that the last twenty years of printmaking had been put aside, broken off into parentheses and then, that the return to the 1980’s study drawings meant that I was treating these original images like prints.

Many of The Nothing Self Portraits also utilize the division between self portrait and response that I adopted in the 1980’s but now the response is often a current self portrait, and the style of drawing is radically loose in comparison with the photo-realism of the 1980’s.

I had to find something acerbic in this encounter. I can’t really describe it in words, but the strength of the contrast actually unifies the drawing as a work. This contrapuntal form also extends to the colour, which is often a colourfield in contrast to the figuration. In a similar way, constructed spatial zones blatantly contradict blank expanses of paper on which drawings sit superficially.

Blatant is a suggestive word, because I want the viewer to see that I am both conducting an orchestration while simultaneously playing a part, and this process of deeply qualifying the figurative construction means that the Theatre of Self Correction, 1979 comes to the surface as a process of endistancing.

Mike Parr

The Theorist is a Snake
, 2007
Colour, Giralt pastel, charcoal on Tamaroll paper
200 x 269.5 cm

Mike Parr

In the Nursery
, 2007
Colour, acrylic, Giralt pastel, ink, charcoal on two canvas panels
238 x 180 cm each

Mike Parr

God’s Beard Comes Off
, 2007
Colour, Giralt pastel, charcoal, ink on Stonehenge paper
127 x 259.5 cm

Mike Parr

The Beyond
, 2007
Colour, acrylic, Girault pastel, charcoal on canvas
Three panels, each panel approximately 200 x 180 cm

Mike Parr

Invisible Women
, 2007
Schmincke pastel, watercolour, charcoal pencil on Tamaroll paper
127 x 240 cm

Mike Parr

Jouissance wins the Melbourne Cup
, 2007
Colour, acrylic, Girault pastel, charcoal, ink on canvas
Dyptych; each comprising two panels 186 x 200 cm each (x4)

Mike Parr

Australia Day
, 2007
Charcoal and graphite on Tamaroll paper
200 x 258 cm

Mike Parr

Beauty Between Blood and Milk
, 2007
Girault pastel, charcoal pencil on backdrop paper
101.5 x 265 cm

Mike Parr

Bootlicker [The Mirror of Pure Life]
, 2007
Girault pastel, charcoal on Stonehenge paper
127 x 250 cm

Mike Parr

Divine Abandon
, 2007
Schmincke pastel, ink, charcoal pencil on backdrop paper
134 x 240 cm
The Trinity of Bones [Dago, Poofter, Dim Sim]
, 2007
Three bar cast wax construction
480 x 240 cm