MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand presents, from August 25 through October 8, 2023, on the 2nd underground floor of the museum, Sala de vídeo: Brook Andrew [Video Room: Brook Andrew], with the screening of Smash it (2018). Curated by Leandro Muniz, curatorial assistant at MASP, the film which is presented for the first time in Brazil, brings together an abrupt edition with elements from a series of other works by the artist, creating fragmentary narratives that question social erasures and legal and cultural structures related to the colonization process of the Australian territory.
Brook Andrew (Sydney, Australia, 1970) is an artist, curator and professor whose practice investigates ways of representing and preserving the memory of Aboriginal peoples, particularly the Wiradjuri and Ngunawal, from whom he descends. In his research, he works with archival materials, which include photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries, films, animations, interviews and news articles. His works – museum interventions, research, lectures and curatorial projects – driven by the desire to foster indigenous forms of knowledge, provoke the limitations imposed by power structures and historical amnesia.
For curator Leandro Muniz, in addition to the artist discussing the historical oppressions and power relations developed in the process of colonization of the Australian territory, “Andrew is interested in the cultural flux established during this period. His work is characterized by a collage-like thinking, juxtaposing documents and acid colors, patterns of native peoples and mural paintings, words in the Wiradjuri language and neons.”
The film is divided into two parts: the first features interviews with researchers, activists and politicians who express different views on Indigenous rights to Australian lands, as well as the cultural conflicts they currently experience. These testimonies are contrasted with archival materials – such as photographs, documents and accounts – which at times present repressed narratives about Aboriginal people and at other times question the stereotyped ways in which they were documented and portrayed by people outside these communities.
In the second part, Andrew appropriates the film Jedda (1955), in which, for the first time in history, Aboriginal actors represent their own social groups. Andrew had already used this film in another work, however, it had no soundtrack or dialogues, only subtitles that shifted the original discourse to a narrative of uprising of oppressed groups. This time, the soundtrack is made up of electronic music and snippets of original lines. “Smash it is marked by windows that open throughout the narrative, acid colors and markers typical of the digital world, reiterating the multiple temporalities that coexist and clash in the work, reflecting the diverse identities that Indigenous communities assume in the present,” points out the curator.
VIDEO ROOM: BROOK ANDREW
Curated by Leandro Muniz, curatorial assistant, MASP