Banks, Which one is Mine?, 2013
103 x 75 cm
edition of 30
In Banks, which one is mine? we quickly recognise the faces of both Captain Cook and Joseph Banks. Both men wear the unamused-expressions by which we have learned to identify ‘great men’, but what are they doing with golf clubs? And then the details start to register – cane toads abound around their feet, one couple even fornicating; St Andrews clubhouse, mecca of contemporary golf, nestles gracefully in the middle distance; kangaroos forage on the course; and cattle graze near a windmill behind a picket fence. This is bizarre, but as a smile forms on the viewer’s face, so also does a question start to present itself about the story here. Based on a well-known golfing image, L.F. Abbott’s (1790) The Blackheath Golfer which became the first golfing poster produced, it depicts a dandified gentleman out for a game of golf attended by his manservant carrying a bundle of clubs. The original image contains a grand country house, the windmill and the picket fence. Hanks reproduces the composition exactly but maps Cook’s face (the one familiar from our history books, Nathaniel Dance’s 1775 portrait) on to the golfing dandy and the equally recognisable image of Banks’ face (from Joshua Reynolds’ 1773 portrait) on to his manservant. The grand country house becomes St Andrews and other smaller details are added to invite closer inspection – note Cook’s belt-buckle.
His time-consuming technique appears to facilitate Hanks’ wicked humour as he adds improbable but convincing detail after detail – these ‘great men’ are out for a bit of redneck-style sport with the toads. Common local knowledge provides a raft of inhumane and illegal ways to kill the toads – those which figure prominently are: hitting with golf clubs; and spraying with either Dettol or Phenyl. Golf, perceived as a ‘respectable’ sport, the domain of the professional classes, also has its status recast in this image as the ‘great white men’ are captured about to embark on a thuggish killing spree.Enquire Berlin