Mike Parr: The Eternal Opening

Mike Parr, The Eternal Opening, Carriageworks, 2019 - photo by Mark PokornyOne of Australia’s most rigorous and respected artists, Mike Parr, will stage The Eternal Opening – an installation exhibiting an actual art gallery as an art object in a gallery at Carriageworks until 8 December 2019.

This structure contains documentation of Parr’s minimalist performance, LEFT FIELD [for Robert Hunter], which took place at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne in 2017. A series of new performances, Towards an Amazonian Black Square and Jericho will take place over the course of the exhibition.

As a critical addenda to this program, Carriageworks will also present video documentation of Parr’s 2016 work BDH [Burning Down The House] in which hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the artist’s prints were methodically positioned in the Carriageworks traverser before being doused with petrol and incinerated.

“Mike Parr is a central figure in the story of Australian contemporary art. His practice is characterised by rigour, by a relentless commitment to enquiry and by a spirit of generosity,” said Carriageworks CEO Blair French. “We are delighted that The Eternal Opening will extend Parr’s already extensive and unique history of engagement with Carriageworks.”

Installation and performance works to be presented during The Eternal Opening include:

LEFT FIELD [for Robert Hunter], 2017
Dual-channel High Definition video installed in Built replica of Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, 2019. Robert Hunter (1947-2014) was an Australian artist whose obsessive pursuit of minimal-abstraction is demonstrated in his white-on-white geometric compositions and white wall paintings. At Carriageworks, the documentation of LEFT FIELD is presented in mirror image, a reference to Parr’s self-portraiture as well as the creation of the original event’s eternal return.

The Eternal Opening, 2019
People entering this part of Carriageworks would see a very large and long rectangular box, built like a set, unroofed and clad from the inside so that the exterior structure of studs, plates, noggins, braces are revealed.

Towards an Amazonian Black Square, 24 October, 2019
On the opening night of The Eternal Opening at Carriageworks, Parr performed Towards an Amazonian Black Square. Drawing on Parr’s outrage at the current wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, the work is an urgent response to an ongoing environmental catastrophe. Documentation of Towards an Amazonian Black Square will be rendered in mirror image and presented on screens within the space. The sound from this performance will play simultaneously over that of LEFT FIELD.

Jericho, 16 November 2019
In the early hours of the morning of Saturday 16 November, 2019 Parr is scheduled to undertake a closed performance session at Carriageworks. Location and details for this event will be provided by Carriageworks closer to the time. Duration unknown. Further details unknown.

BDH [Burning Down The House], 2016
From Saturday 2 November to Sunday 8 December, visitors to Carriageworks will be able to see the presentation of video documentation from Parr’s performance BDH [Burning Down The House], 2016. This work was produced and presented by Carriageworks for the 2016 opening of the Biennale of Sydney exhibition at Carriageworks.

In BDH [Burning Down The House], Parr set fire to an 18 x 12 metre grid of works from his print archive and their accompanying copper plates. Approximately $750,000 worth of the artist’s prints were methodically positioned in the Carriageworks traverser before being doused with petrol and incinerated. The work probes the role of art and the artist in a period where issues such as climate change and refugee policy have polarised communities and Governments globally.

Mike Parr: The Eternal Opening is the fifth in the series of Schwartz / Carriageworks major artist commissions that have taken place since 2015 including Katharina Grosse: The Horse Trotted Another Few Metres, Then it Stopped, 2018; Daniel Buren: Like Child’s Play / Comme Un Jeu D’enfant, 2017; Francesco Clemente: Encampment, 2016; and El Anatsui: Five Decades, 2015.


Mike Parr: The Eternal Opening
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
Exhibition continues to 8 December 2019
Free admission

For more information, visit: www.carriageworks.com.au for details.

Image: Mike Parr, The Eternal Opening, Carriageworks, 2019 – photo by Mark Pokorny

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