The Burning is an exhibition of new work by Benjamin Crowley made during his year as Artist in Residence, focusing on the existential concerns of living with truth and sincerity and avoiding ‘bad faith’. Coined by Sartre and related to self-deception, living in bad faith is to adopt false values and to disown innate freedom for societal or external pressures.
Benjamin’s practice has long been concerned with the critique of identity and culture; specifically Australian culture and masculinity. Much of the aim within this critique was to highlight the adoptive and performative and therefore inauthentic elements of identity. The Burning re-contextualises this interest in broader philosophical terms and is particularly influenced by popular existential ideas and the writings of Sartre, Camus and Kierkegaard.
Within the exhibition, Kierkegaard’s idea of the ‘dizziness of freedom’ is a reoccurring motif conceptually and in literal interpretation. Using the example of approaching a cliff face, Kierkegaard explains the dual sensation of the fear of falling and the impulse to throw oneself off. The cause of this sensation, otherwise known as dread or angst, is the freedom of existence. In part, The Burning is an exhibition attempting to provoke this sense of dread and dizziness.
OPENING //18 November, 6PM
EXHIBITION // 18 November – 5 December, 2015
ARTIST TALK // 25 November, 6PM
METRO ARTS GALLERY, Level 2
SEE ALSO //
Exhibition Catalogue // with essay by David M Thomas
2015 / Metro Arts – Exhibition Program – co-presented by Metro Arts and Benjamin Crowley