Born Sydney, Australia 1945
Lives and works in Sydney
Interrogating formal and cultural orthodoxies, the vast and uncompromising practice of Mike Parr assumes multiple forms through a conflation of drawing, printmaking, sculpture and performance. Exploring the limits of his physical and mental capacity, Parr’s highly influential performance practice employs his own body as a means to examine identity and political conventions of the twentieth century. His decades-long ‘Self Portrait Project’ also draws upon his own subjectivity, unfolding as a cathartic reflection on selfhood and the proliferation of perspective.
Throughout his career Parr has continually questioned the possibilities and critical reception of contemporary art. By subsuming modes of activism into his practice, and working beyond established structures, Parr rigorously examines aesthetic norms and social circumstances to reaffirm his vital role within contemporary Australian culture.
Parr represented Australia at the Venice Biennale in 1980 and presented the major installation The Ghost Who Talks at the Palazzo Mora in 2015. In 2016, the National Gallery of Australia mounted the museum’s largest survey of a contemporary Australian artist, Foreign Looking by Mike Parr.
Selected exhibitions include The Eternal Opening, Carriageworks, Sydney (2019); Underneath the Bitumen the Artist, 72 hour durational performance, Dark MOFO, Hobart, Tasmania (2018), Give the People what they Want / Ideal Unions / Nazi Milk, Campbelltown Arts Centre, New South Wales (2016); Foreign Looking, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2016); Asylum, DARK MOFO, Hobart (2016); The Marked Self: Between Annihilation & Masquerade, Neue Gallery / Univarsalmuseum-Joanneum, Graz, Austria (2015); The Ghost Who Talks, 55th Biennale di Venezia, Palazzo Mora, Venice, Italy (2015); Damage Control: Body Art & Destruction 1968 – 1972, BRUSEUM, Neue Gallery, Graz, Austria (2014); Mix Tape 1980s: Appropriation, Subculture, Critical Style, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); Mike Parr: Edelweiß, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); MIRROR/ARSE in Revolutions – Forms That Turn, 16th Biennale of Sydney, Cockatoo Island (2008); Volte Face: Mike Parr Prints & Preprints 1970 – 2005, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2006).
Public collections include the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Parliament House, Canberra; Monash University, Melbourne; and Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.