Mike Parr is considered to be Australia's most significant practising performance artist. He established himself as a controversial and provocative artist in the early 1970s and was formative in the development of conceptual art in Australia. The retrospective, opening today in Canberra, features a range of media from the prolific artist, including film, print, drawing, sculpture and photography.
Experimenting with poetry and the written word in his early work, Parr then found performance to explore his interest in memory, the unconscious, self and the image of self. He ruthlessly pushes his body to extremes to achieve the 'limit state'. Works show him slicing his belly, starving himself in solitary confinement, pushing pin tacks into his leg and wrapping his head in wire, in an often uncompromising confrontation with his audience.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the gallery has reconstructed the artist's 1974 'Information Centre', which will contain a large collection of archival material as well as a display of Parr's numerous journals, highlighting the artist's rigour in relentless self-analysis. It will also be a site for talks, workshops and performances throughout the exhibition, which runs until 6 November 2016.