Archibald Prize 2016. Finalists. Chris Bond


Artist: Chris Bond

Title: The restless dead (portrait of the artist)

Medium: oil on canvas and calico

Dimensions: 53 x 44.5 cm

In his practice, artist Chris Bond invents fictional identities and alternate versions of himself to people his work. His paintings take the form of facsimiles of imagined books, magazines, exhibition catalogues and correspondence.

His self-portrait The restless dead recalls early 1980s occult pulp-horror novels in which threatening, illusory forms creep at the edge of the real. ‘I depict myself in the guise of the invented Norwegian artist Tor Rasmussen, who first appeared in my work in 2014. Tor is a difficult character to inhabit as he has a wild, oppositional disposition, but he has gradually wormed his way under my skin to the point where the two of us have become inseparable,’ says Bond.

‘Here, on a moonlit night under a jacaranda tree in the backyard, I get into character intending to rid myself of him forever. I plunge a carved wooden stake, left over from a previous installation, into my/his heart. This scene is documented in the painted book. But a kind of last gasp from Tor forces the stake upwards distorting my name and the title of the work. The result of the attempted exorcism is ambiguous.’

Born in Melbourne in 1975, Bond studied fine art at RMIT in the mid 1990s and has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows since 2000. In 2013, he was awarded the Arthur Guy Memorial Painting Prize. This is his first time in the Archibald Prize.

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