Echo II by Dr Christian Thompson AO - 2014 | Michael Reid Gallery

Dr Christian Thompson AO
Echo II, 2014

from the series Polari
c-type print on Fuji Pearl Metallic Paper
100 x 100 cm
edition 2 of 5 + 2AP
$12,000 framed in black

Polari, Gallery Gabrielle Pizz, Melbourne, Australia
Ritual intimacy, curated by Charlotte Day and Hetti Perkins Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne 2017

Echo II is part of the 2014 series Polari. The exhibition’s title, Polari, refers to a centuries-old slang dialect originating in Britain but in use throughout the English-speaking world by various subcultures, including homosexuals as well as prostitutes, actors, and carnival workers. Thompson’s investigation into evolving identity through changing appearance can be seen to echo the use of Polari as a form of disguise for the many communities that employ it.

In Echo II, 2014 Thompson appears with white-painted skin, staring wistfully into the distance. The artist wears a white and black feathered headpiece, nestled amongst apparently natural curls. The tones of the feathers advance and recede against respectively white and black backgrounds in each image. 

The deceptively minimal yet strong compositions Thompson has employed in Echo II continues the artist’s investigation into the role played by embellishment and disguise in the creation of personal and sexual identity. This intriguing work invites the viewer to enter a shared space of intentional ambiguity with Thompson and his alter egos. 

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