November 2003 to June 2004
This exhibition explores how four Australian artists have been influenced by other cultures. This exposure to different cultures has occurred through travel and migration, as well as understanding family history and simply living as part of Australia's multicultural society.
Museums Board of Victoria Annual Report 2003/2004
Captain Palamidis: Freedom Fighter.
George Alamidis: Artist.
Adopted histories; selected identities.
The artist constructing history. Aesthetics and meaning. A dangerous combination in
the hands of one dislocated at age 14 from his country, homeland, history, tradition and culture. Carrying a family and national history of dislocation: escape from Turkish occupation to the Macedonian region of Greece, then immigration to Australia.
identity cards: documents of restriction of movement. issued to the population during the post-war period of the late 1940s and early 1950s, these cards limited the movements of the holder, who was unable to travel more than 40 kilometres from their place of birth without it. Melancholy fragments of personal images overlaid by soulless bureaucratic marks. Patina with time and handling and use.
Postcards: documents of travel. On holiday? To war perhaps?
'Postcard perfect' images—fabrications of desire and reality, designed to impress. Snippets of messages, snippets of lives. Also patina with time, travel-weary.
Born into 1950s Greece, post-war government propaganda in full swing, Alamidis is
imprinted still by the impact of these official lies. He creates his personal histories in the tradition of the best of lies, containing enough truth to allow for belief if we must, to make us pause. insecure for a moment as the game sinks in. He documents 'truths-always himself at the core of the mis-truth.
Serious games: Alamidis transgresses history, truth, age and gender to supply his art. Prostitutes his own face in the service of culture. He leads us on a detective game, laying deliberate clues. Contrived histories we yet yearn to believe. A stash, a find; we share complicity in the deception. Logic defied by the need for a history: preferably concise; satisfying our demand for nostalgic patina; colour-coordinated, even.