Artist Mike Parr to be buried under the road for 72 hours as a part of Dark Mofo

UNDERNEATH THE BITUMEN THE ARTIST Mike Parr

Art News from Australia. Published by Museum of Old and New Art on Monday 28 May 2018.

Artist Mike Parr to be buried under the road for 72 hours as a part of Dark Mofo image Artist Mike Parr to be buried under the road for 72 hours as a part of Dark Mofo image Artist Mike Parr to be buried under the road for 72 hours as a part of Dark Mofo image Artist Mike Parr to be buried under the road for 72 hours as a part of Dark Mofo image

The Australian artist Mike Parr will be interred below the bitumen of the middle lane of Macquarie Street in central Hobart, Tasmania, from 9pm on Thursday 14 June 2018 until 9pm on Sunday 17 June 2018.

The artwork, titled UNDERNEATH THE BITUMEN THE ARTIST, was conceived to memorialise the victims of twentieth century totalitarian violence in all of its ideological forms, including the shadow cast by the genocidal violence of nineteenth century British colonialism in Australia.

The public will be able to witness the artist’s “disappearance” under the road, but following the entombment, the road will be returned to familiar use. The anxiety of the artist’s disappearance is the point of the piece.

When the artist exits the container at the conclusion of the performance, concrete will be poured to fuse the chamber and its contents as a time capsule instated for future generations.

This is the third and final work by Mike Parr to be included in Mona’s winter festival, Dark Mofo.

In 2016, the festival commissioned Parr’s work Asylum [Entry by Mirror Only] at the historic Willow Court Asylum in New Norfolk. The work was comprised of a 72-hour in-situ performance followed by a two-week exhibition of Parr’s photographic and film works, reflected in a kaleidoscope of mirrors left on the site by more than 10,000 visitors.

In 2017, Dark Mofo travelled to Bruny Island at 2am for Empty Ocean, a performance in which Mike Parr was joined by 72 people aged around 70 years, for a one-hour performance piece in the near-darkness of the frozen morning. An experience of stark, minimal beauty ensued, as a meditation on time, ageing, and isolation, with attendees returning to the main island of Tasmania just before dawn.

Mike Parr’s contribution to Dark Mofo has been significant, Dark Mofo Creative Director Leigh Carmichael insists.

“We try to present new artists each year, but when Mike Parr asks to be buried under the streets of Hobart, it’s hard to say no,” Carmichael said.

“While initially intrigued by the project, it was only when Mike sent through the artist statement that I began to understand its relationship with Tasmania’s dark history, and comprehend the potential for its impact to resonate for much longer than the festival.

“UNDERNEATH THE BITUMEN THE ARTIST acknowledges two deeply linked events in Tasmania’s history. The eventual transportation of 75,000 British & Irish convicts in the first half of the nineteenth century and the subsequent, near total destruction of Tasmania’s aboriginal population.

“To my knowledge, it will be Tasmania’s first monument referencing both the Black War and The Convict System, because the abysmal treatment of the Indigenous people and the extreme violence of the punishment meted out to the convicts are two sides of the same coin. It is a story that is not well known, but is ever-present, just beneath the surface of our contemporary culture.

“The fact that Mike Parr’s work will happen underground, just out of sight, as everyday life continues above it, is clearly no coincidence. In my mind at least, this has already made the most poignant and profound statement imaginable.”

UNDERNEATH THE BITUMEN THE ARTIST
Mike Parr

72 hours
9pm Thursday 14 June–9pm Sunday 17 June 2018

Macquarie Street, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Presented by Dark Mofo and Detached Cultural Organisation, Hobart
Curated by Jarrod Rawlins