Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Dr Peter Hill during February. Join us for the artist talk on Saturday the 6th of February from 2-4pm.
Glasgow-born Australian artist Dr Peter Hill has been creating what he calls “Superfictions” since 1989, when he first used fictional press releases to create New York’s Museum of Contemporary Ideas on Manhattan’s Park Avenue. This was supposedly the largest new museum in the world. Within the fiction, it attempted to break many of the rules of curation and museum display.
Since then, Hill has created not just the artworks but the fictional identities and CVs of over 50 contemporary artists, as well as Museum Directors, Philanthropists, Art Critics, Collectors, Gallerists, and – in his ongoing art-world fantasy The Art Fair Murders – serial killers.
At a populist level this project can be likened to the idea of the hoax or April Fool’s prank. At a more serious, specialist, level it deals with aspects of “falsificationism” from the philosophy of science (Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, Margaret Masterman) asking “how can we tell from mainly visual clues, whether any given statement is true or false?” Or can we only approach the truth, as in Popper’s conundrum of sighting white swans and black swans. One of Hill’s fictitious art collectives AAA (Art Against Astrology) interrogates these questions through
their on-going artwork The Museum of Doubt. The arrival of Donald Trump and the proliferation of Fake News has helped illuminate notions of doubt and certainty, and for the past four years Peter Hill has been on a world lecture tour called Fake News and Superfictions – brought to a premature end in 2020 by the arrival of COVID-19.
For this exhibition at HOME@735, Dr Peter Hill introduces the work of his latest creation Stickleback (born 1951). Like Banksy and Madonna, Stickleback is one of several artist-celebrities known by a single name, or mononym. Normally working from studios in Berlin, Shanghai, and London, Stickleback found himself stranded in COVID-lockdown in Hobart, Tasmania (where he was working on a still-under-wraps major project). Based at a luxury mansion in Sandy Bay, this veteran artist has produced 35 Provocative Text-On-Canvas Paintings that comment on the extremes of contemporary life (Trump, Johnson, Sturgeon, Morrison, Gillard) alongside esoteric statements made by a range of artists, past and present (Marcel Broodthaers, Werner Herzog, Donald Judd, Dorothea Tanning, Uccello, and Ennio Morricone).
Stickleback’s 1m x 1m paintings – already dubbed The Tasmania Suite – take their inspiration from 2020’s protest banners and placards, newspaper headlines, religious texts, art-historical quotations, and a range of contemporary and historical artists including: Tracey Emin, Jorg Immendorff, Anselm Kiefer, Linda Marrinon, Joseph Kosuth, and Colin McCahon. Stickleback’s work has been exhibited at the documenta, the Venice Biennale, the Sydney Biennale, and the Geelong Art Prize. He is also a character in Peter Hill’s on-going Superfiction (supposedly a novel and a film) The After-Sex Cigarette.
This exhibition at HOME@735 expands Hill’s ideas from The Art Fair Murders, with scenography that suggests an international art fair held in an “Art Hotel” in Cologne, during the run of the city’s main art fair in the nearby Kunstmesse. The setting is reminiscent of Spring 1883 held in Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel during the city’s art fair season. A selection of the 1m x 1m canvases made by Stickleback during 2020 lockdown will be exhibited at HOME@735 throughout February 2021. This selection will change on a weekly basis, mimicking the way many galleries at art fairs (especially during the 1980s) would quickly replace paintings or sculptures when sold in order to maximise their opportunities for sales. One of the intentions of Hill’s project is to contrast the politics of museum display with that of international art fair practices. His ambition is to eventually sell “readymade” art fair installations to museums and private collectors – using signage, carpeting, and language as signifiers. Within this framing device artworks will change regularly, often selected from storage by museum visitors.
Fragments of this project have previously been installed in The Sydney Biennale (MCA); AGNSW (Project Space); ACCA, Melbourne; Auckland City Gallery; and Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.