34. John Teschendorff (WA)

12 March, 2021


History of Ideas Series CXXVI Invisible Cities 5…to do Justice (Nusa Penida/Guantanamo Bay)

Diptych, graphite, acrylic, gold leaf, wax
67.6 x 112 cms

Artist Statement

“In 2019, I was working on drawings influenced by ideas from Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel Invisible Cities when the 2020 Mandorla theme was released. A reflection on Micah’s text informed the development of this diptych linking two infamous homeland security installations: Indonesia’s Nusa Penida and America’s Guantanamo Bay. The paradox is the self-proclaimed greatest Christian democracy and the world’s largest Islamic democracy as entities which both seek to do good by way of doing justice (while, it seems, the essential notions of kindness and mercy lie elsewhere). Emerging out of two densely layered fields of subdued colour are two powerful diagonals which anticipate coming together in a yet-to-be imagined future.”

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John Teschendorff has worked as a senior academic at Melbourne University, Curtin University, The University of Western Australia, and several south-east Asian universities. Internationally recognised, his work is included in major state, national and international galleries, including corporate and institutional permanent collections in Australia, the USA, England, Spain, Israel, Malaysia and Indonesia. He has a continuing engagement with the History of Ideas Project (1997-2020), using drawing as a beginning for works on paper and canvas, with emotional responses to landscape, border crossing, conflict and trauma in the Middle East, Indonesia, USA and Australia.Image: courtesy the artist and Moore Contemporary

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