Brook Andrew

I Split Your Gaze, 1997
ink jet print
108.0 x 100.0 cm
signed, dated, titled and numbered (lower margin) 3 from an edition of 10


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The artist
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2001

Another example of this image is in the National Gallery of Australia collection

Another example of this image is in:
M Delany, N Papastergiadis, M Riphagen, B Andrew, G Barlow, A Loxley, L Russell, 'Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye' exhibition catalogue, MUMA, Melbourne, 2007 (illus. front cover)
G Pizzi, C Perrella, H Fink, 'Beyond Myth', exhibition catalogue, Gabrielle Pizzi, Melbourne, 1999 (illus p. 23)

"In this work, our expectations are disrupted. We cannot meet this man's gaze, the fracture of his face and its relocation to the edges of the frame leaves a space of uneasy emptiness at the centre of the page. Our eyes move over the surface of the divided face, from eye to eye, across the gap, seeking to reconcile the split with our attention. The work destabilises perception: Is this one man or two? Is this a mirror image, or does it act like the reflective chamber of the kaleidoscope, a hall of illusions which is both one and many?" (G Barlow, 'Brook Andrew: Eye to Eye' exhibition catalogue, MUMA, Melbourne, 2007, p. 30)

  • I Split Your Gaze

Image courtesy of Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne and the artist

View artist profile

A Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal man from his mother’s side, Brook Andrew’s practice is grounded in meticulous historical research with works that confront the narratives of colonial history and memorialise the lives and stories that have been erased by historical amnesia. Andrew’s practice resembles a historian, trawling through archival documents to glean new insights into Australia’s history divorced from what he calls the “Colonial Gaze”. His prolific oeuvre includes photography, collage, sculpture and large-scale installations, informed to a large extent by his Australian Aboriginal heritage, culture and language.

Overtly political, Andrew’s art disrupts conventional art practice by incorporating as many different media, disciplines and cross-sections of society as possible. He has a particular interest in ethnographic photography, finding historical images of Indigenous peoples from Australia and abroad and repurposing them, not unlike Gerhard Richter’s 48 Portraits. He makes frequent use of historical images – both ethnographic and art historical – overlaying them with collaged text to pass comment on colonial history and the Western art canon.

Andrew has a compelling vision for each of his exhibition spaces. Incorporating installation pieces along with neon light displays and sculptures, his work and the walls of his exhibitions have included striking black and white linear patterns based off dendroglyphs (or tree carvings) of the Wiradjuri nation. The diversity in medium and form is a manifestation of his vision of the world as a collection of ‘others’, of disparate voices that all deserve to be heard on their own terms.

Brook Andrew has exhibited for over two decades in Australia and overseas. In 2017, the National Gallery of Victoria staged The Right to Offend is Sacred, a survey show or, as he called it, a “museum intervention”. (Judith Ryan with Brook Andrew, Brook Andrew: The Right to Offend is Sacred, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, p. 2.) The same year, Andrew received a prestigious Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C., United States. In 2020, Andrew was Artistic Director of NIRIN, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney.