Mike Parr

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.