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Daniel Boyd exhibition at the Gropius Bau in Berlin

The more complex aspects of Australian history emerge from the exhibition at Gropius Bau. The works of the artist familiar with the idea of ​​uprooting are the protagonists of the film

Daniel Boyd, Untitled CPC, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. Photo by Ivan Bulgan

A black ground with a tapestry of small mirrored circles organizes the central atrium of Gropius Pau in soft, orderly chiaroscuro arcades. A similar structure, but with the mirrors replaced by peepholes, blocks the windows on the upper floor. It forces light to paint modular geometric shapes on the floor and on the walls, finally giving ecological and immersive value to the intervention of Daniel Boyd (Cairns, 1982). The lights and shadows of history, sometimes in fleeting presence, settle into a Berlin museum dedicated to one of Australia’s preeminent artists rainbow snake (copy)a wide gallery in The Eurocentric History of Australia Thus, it was included among the ongoing political and cultural decolonization processes.
Starting with the exhibition title, “Rainbow Serpent,” which refers to the irreverent ambiguity with which indigenous cultures have been labeled without protecting their differences. Boyd, with the appropriate addition (Issuance)Therefore, it confirms the historical need to return that knowledge to the characteristics of the original identity.

Daniel Boyd, Untitled (TDHFTC), 2021. Private Collection (Jan Suk Chai).  Photo: Chunho An.  Kukje Gallery Courtesy of
Daniel Boyd, Untitled (TDHFTC), 2021. Private Collection (Jan Suk Chai). Photo: Chunho An. Kukje Gallery Courtesy of

Daniel Boyd Gallery in Berlin

Curated by Stephanie Rosenthal and Caroline Kuechling, in collaboration with the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, the exhibition hosts forty-four paintings and two installations designed for the atrium and windows of Gropius Bau. Envelopes that allow the artist to make a direct comparison with European institutions and that, in this case, modulate the use of the building, located near the wall, in divided Berlin, formerly an ethnological museum and for this reason also a temple to the Western anthropocentrism. Boyd showed a penchant for drawing from an early age, when he began selling his products to tourists. After completing his studies at the Australian National University College of Art and Design in Canberra in 2005, he started showing. He is the first indigenous artist to be awarded the prestigious Bulgari Art Prize in 2014 Untitled (PW)which is a documentation of the colonial experiences of the Great Ocean (Pacific Ocean), and above all of the migrations in which his ancestors also participated.
Central, in his work, remains A deep reflection on Australian history And the ethics of colonialism, intertwined with Aboriginal knowledge, biographies, and family testimonies, and molded into historical photographs or paintings excavated from graves. On both Boyd superimposes dots of glue mixed with black paint, and lenses to impede clear perception and subtract vision from the image. It serves to introduce the right to obscurity, a theoretical intuition of the poet and philosopher Edward Glessan dear to Boyd, in reference to the manifold complexity of Aboriginal cultures. This concept runs counter to the idea of ​​transparency, defining Western thought, which predisposes itself to “understanding”, and etymologically to take with itself, and thus, to reduce the differences in the coherent unity of the Logos. In the wake of Glissant, opacity is introduced by delegating the disturbing effect of small, raised, slightly plastic lenses, and by appropriating the concept-enveloping amplification in space of the perforated screens of the windows.

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Daniel Boyd, Untitled (Beta), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley Gallery 9, Sydney
Daniel Boyd, Untitled (Beta), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley Gallery 9, Sydney

Colonization according to Boyd

In addition, lens technology in use since 2010 protects the diversity of its many themes, such as the National Black Theater (an Indigenous-run theater company in suburban Sydney), activist Angela Davis, Marlon Brando’s wife, Tarita Teribaya, and Indigenous land in relation to black rights and movements Native to Australia and the United States. Boyd revisits the icons of European colonial history, the anthropological schemas that were codified in the photographs taken by missionaries and used in Heart looks and models In contexts such as the London Missionary Society or to review the role of the Anglican Church in Vanuatu, where his great-grandfather also lived, before he was forced to move to Queensland. He was part of the so-called “Stolen Generation,” that is, a population whose roots and traditions of identity were permanently cut off, by vicious planning. They were intended to boost the Australian economy, which has historically depended on the free labor of First Nations and Pacific Islanders, with consequences that, so far, have yet to be fully remedied.

Marilyn de Torcy

Berlin // until July 9, 2023
Daniel Boyd. rainbow snake (copy)
Gropius Bau
Niederkirchnerstrasse 7

Earl Warner

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