On the Couch with Christian Thompson

Arts Review On the Couch Christian ThompsonWho is Christian Thompson?
He is an artist and Inaugural Charlie Perkins Scholar, University of Oxford.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Trust my gut instinct because she’s usually always right.

Who inspires you and why?
Recently Caitlyn Jenner, I thought her ESPY’s speech was a momentous and powerful speech for trans people and trans visibility, she is saving lives with that speech and bringing forward a simple and powerful message about understanding and acceptance. I admire her bravery.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Make everyone vegan, so we tread lighter on the earth and eradicate cruelty and practice compassion. PS: don’t worry carnivores, I would revolutionise a very satisfying meat alternative, so convincing that you can’t tell the difference and it would be cheaper.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Oh god this sounds really pretentious but Antibes on the French Riviera, it’s just so beautiful, also going home to western Queensland where my people come from, I feel like I recalibrate when I’m on my traditional land and my ancestors are watching over me.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
Depends which home I am in, London or Melbourne. London a walk in Hyde Park, then the Tate roof top Café and look out over the Thames after seeing a great show then drinks at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden and Melbourne, definitely you must do in winter is hit the Peninsula Hot Springs in Mornington, then Alimentari on smith street for lunch and coffee, Bad Frankie for drinks, and loiter around in David Jones and catch up over retail therapy.

What are you currently reading?
Kate Bornstein – Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws and Primitive Mythology / Joseph Campbell – Masks of God. I tend to have a few books on the go at once.

What are you currently listening to?
FKA Twigs LP1, amazing musician from London and Tori Amos Midwinter Graces, a seasonal album because it feels like northern hemisphere Christmas weather in Melbourne right now.

Happiness is?
Being content with just being present in the world.

What does the future hold for you?
This year is super busy, I just completed the in Residence with Marina Abramovic at Kaldor Arts Projects in Sydney and my new video work Silence is Golden was in 24 Frames Per Second at Carriageworks, my show Dead Tongue just opened at the Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne, I have a show Collection+: Christian Thompson at Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, The Asia Pacific Triennial 8, QAGOMA, Brisbane, a Residency at Turner Street Galleries in Perth, and heading back to London/Oxford for my graduation and to work on some new sound and photographic work.

Christian Thompson is a Melbourne-based contemporary Indigenous artist (Bidjara People), recently returned from London. His works explore notions of identity, cultural hybridity and history. Formally trained as a sculptor, Thompson’s multidisciplinary practice engages mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, performance and sound.

His work focuses on the exploration of identity, sexuality, gender, race and memory. In his live performances and conceptual portraits he inhabits a range of personas achieved through handcrafted costumes and carefully orchestrated poses and backdrops.

In 2010 Thompson made history when he became the first Aboriginal Australian to be admitted into the University of Oxford in its 900-year history. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (Fine Art), Trinity College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom, a Master of Theatre, Amsterdam School of Arts, Das Arts, The Netherlands, a Masters of Fine Art (Sculpture) (Hons.), RMIT University and a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. His works are held in major international and national collections.

Christian will be participating in Let’s Dance:In Between the Message and the Medium – a collaboration between the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the Koorie Heritage Trust on Saturday 5 September 2015. For more information, visit: www.acmi.net.au/lets-dance-forum for details.

Image: Christian Thompson (supplied)