Blog Mike Parr: Performances 1971-2008 book review

Mike Parr: Performances 1971-2008 book review

Posted April 9, 2021, 6:44 p.m. by T

KFAI - Undead

Mike Parr: Performances 1971 - 2008

Black Inc. Publishing


Mike Parr’s shadow looms large, both on international terrain but specifically on terra australis. Having emerged on his artistic mission in the early 1970s, his oeuvre encompasses not merely a vast array of media but specifically performances, which not only work on different levels but more often than not have a political message at their core.

Over the years, I have had the fortune to not only visit Parr’s exhibitions but been lucky enough to witness some of his performances very close to the action, specifically the ones we have documented via our features of the Dark Mofo festivals, which Mike Parr has created monumental events for.

Being a self-taught artist who has always been marching to the beat of his own drum, Mike Parr very early own carved his own lane and developed what can be described as a signature language and visual aesthetic with the common denominator being his complete physical and intellectual commitment to his art – a commitment that often transcends boundaries and uses his body as a medium to deal with traumata and other experiences.

Challenging societal norms , the notion of identity as a fixed concept and conventions of what is perceived to be “normal”, Parr champions imperfection and has established these themes as consistent components of his body of work.

To do justice to an artist of Mike Parr’s calibre is challenging at best and I have long sought for a book comprising a comprehensive overview of her performances. Fortunately, there is Black Inc. Publishing, an accomplished publishing house focussing on quality non-fiction, fiction and poetry, based in Melbourne. 

While there is a myriad of publishers dabbling in the arts, it is Black Inc’s passionate approach, careful curation, tailored editing and a sense for relevant new works within the confines of art, history, politics, biography, criticism and current affairs, which gives their publications an omnipresent sense of relevance and substance.

Black Inc’s tome on Mike Parr, i.e. Performances 1971 – 2008 is an homage par excellence, both paying tribute and simultaneously examining Mike Parr’s artistic endeavours and by having Mike Parr himself at the helm of the operation, it offers unparalleled access to his unique world and views.

With its pared back yet stylish and elegant packaging, Mike Parr Performances 1971 – 2008 is essential for anyone harbouring an interest for artists who have dedicated their life to pushing boundaries in every sense of the word.

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