16 Jul 2014
Ben Quilty: interview
Saatchi Gallery, London
4 July 2014
Interview by CHRISTIANA SPENS
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY
Ben Quilty’s first solo London show opened at the Saatchi Gallery on 4 July, celebrating his winning of the inaugural Prudential Eye Award, 2014.
Quilty’s work confronts Australian history and identity through a series of Rorschach-inspired paintings. These include Fairy Bower Rorschach (2012), which layers colonial landscape with past atrocities against Aboriginal people, and Self Portrait Smashed Rorschach (2009), in which images of past debauchery coincide with a surface whose textures recall trees and abstract patterns. His Inhabit series, meanwhile, challenges ideas of Australian colonialism and identity, through paintings of Captain Cook evolving from a devil and into portraits of the artist.
Christiana Spens went to the Saatchi Gallery to talk to Quilty about his exhibition, as well as his past work as an official war artist, embedded in the Australian Defence Force in Afghanistan, and his wider ideas about history, identity and brutality.
Ben Quilty is at the Saatchi Gallery, London, from 4 July – 3 August 2014.