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Brendan Lee

b. 1974

Cars speed along highways. Explosions destroy buildings.  People scream, cry and burst into fits of wild verbal aggression. An aircraft is torn apart, wings burning, fuselages ruptured, bodies flying – yet the aircraft continues to crash, over and over, without end. For Brendan Lee the language of cinema – and its recurring visual motifs – is the subject of his work.  Lee’s single channel pieces suchas Boom [1998], Hits [1999], Skids [2000], Pursuit [2000] and Plain Video [2005] are meticulously constructed collages of samples from mainstream movies. Skids, for example, edited together a collage of cars skidding while Hits was a montage of fight punches. The collection of these visual occurrences offer an insight into the grammar of cinema, how action is framed and highlighted by a camera angle, sound effects or music. But Lee’s work also suggests a darker view, revealing not just how the visual continuity of these samples work, but also their deadening homogeneity.

For Shooting From The Hip [2005] Lee took a different tack. To isolate the recurring gestures of Hong Kong action cinema, Lee constructed a set, hired an actor and recreated the two-gun-pigeons-and-papers-flying visual hyperbole of the work of directors such as John Woo and Ringo Lam. Where the earlier sample-based work highlighted the gesture by appropriation, Shooting from the Hip opened up a new way to examine visual language of Hollywood while exploring how identity and nationhood are evoked through cinema.

In Out of The Blue (Tracks 1 & 2), [2006], Lee took a step away from action and examined the subtleties of physical gesture in a series of vignettes shot around various locations used in iconic Australian films such as Dogs In Space [1987] and Romper Stomper [1992].  The action in the two videos is performed by teenagers, adding poignancy to proceedings while the camera style creates a strange and unexpected sense of “Australianness”.

This sense of national identity – an identity founded on imagery, delivery and physical gesture - was the subject of Lee’s subsequent works The Beautiful Badlands [2006] and the two-screen installation Two Birds With One Stone [2006], which took on the prison movie sub-genre of Australian cinema and their absurdly overstated notions of masculinity. While the communication between the men in these videos is aggressive and confrontational, both works suggest that symbolic images of liberation from confinement – such as the open road – are in fact just as restricted by a collective imagination. Proving Ground [2007] explored this notion further. On one screen, cars are seen doing burnouts and doughnuts, while on the other screen, men in a pub drink beer to excess. While no explicit reference is made between the subjects of either screen, the metaphorical resonances of place are starkly apparent.

Andrew Frost
Birth place
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Period of activity 
from 1997
Other works 

Out of Character (2008), Single channel, 1:00 min looped
Don‚ Äôt Steal Tricks (2008), Single channel, 15:00mins looped
Save Braybrook (2007), Single channel, 15:00 min looped
Proving Ground( 2007), Dual channel, 32:00 min looped
Between a Rock (2007), Single channel, 15:00 min looped
Two Birds With One Stone (2006), Dual channel, 60:00 mins looped
True Blue (2006), 1, 2, 3, 4, Single channel, 12:00 min looped
Takin' a Shot (2005), Single channel video, 52:00 min looped
Role Model (2005), Single channel, 52:00 min looped
Shootin' From the Hip (2004), Single channel version, 52:00 min looped
Anger (2001), Single channel, 2:00 min looped
Pursuit (2000), Single channel, 2:00 min looped
Hits (1999), Single channel, 2:00 min looped
Boom (1998), Single channel, 2:00 min looped

Other solo exhibitions 

Selected solo exhibitions include: Australia Days, The Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Bogan Proof Fences, Jenny Port Gallery, Melbourne (2011); Proving Ground, Benalla Art Gallery, Benalla, (2010); Great Southern Land, The Academy Gallery, Launceston, (2009); Standing on the Outside Looking in, Shifted, Melbourne, (2008); Two Birds with One Stone, Art Gallery of New South Wales, (2006); Shootin’ from the Hip, Perth Institute for Contemporary Art, Takin’ a Shot, Institute for Modern Art, Brisbane, (2005); …Matter of Time, Performance Space, Sydney, (2004); Death is a Matter of Time, Screen, Canberra Contemporary Art Spaces, Canberra, (2003); Vault of the third kind, Slide, Gertrude Contemporary Artspace, Melbourne, (2001); Syntax 3.0, Artbox, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, (2000); Syntactic Subjection, Slapo Video Gallery, Melbourne, (1998).

Other group exhibitions 

Selected group exhibitions include: Anthology, The Outsider curated by Michael Brennan, Trocadero Art Space Footscray, (2010); Proving Ground, Figuring Landscapes curated by Catherine Elwes, Tate Modern London, (2009); Beautiful Badlands, World One Minutes, Today Art Museum Beijing, Badlands, After-Cinema, curated by Shaun Wilson, Director’s Lounge, Berlin, Out of the Blue, Australian Gothic: Video Art Now Curated by Dr Shaun Wilson, PICA, (2008); Proving Ground, VideoBrasil, Sao Paulo, Beautiful Badlands, Out of the Blue, ZAIM Art Space Yokohama, Japan, Out of the Blue, Australian Video Art, curated by Kate Murphy, Four Gallery, Dublin, (2007); Plain Crash, SynCity, curated by Mark Titmarsh, ACP, Sydney, Out of the Blue, The Late Sessions, curated by Soda Jerk, George St Cinemas, Sydney, (2006); Shootin’ from the Hip, Making a Scene part II, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, Mythologies of Film & A Plain Video, Scott Donovan, Sydney, (2005); Mythologies of Film, EFOS04, ACMI Melbourne & Artspace Korea, Death Time. One Minutes, Salto Television, Amsterdam, (2004); Death is a Matter of Time, Nth Art Exhibit01, Ols & Co Gallery, London,  Skids, Entertainment, Chewing the Phat, Phatspace, Sydney, (2003); Pursuit, Serial 7’s, Imperial Slacks Gallery, Sydney, (2002); Syntax 5, d>art 00, dLux Media Arts, Customs House, Sydney, (2000).

The Sentimental Blokes, – from The Sentimental Blokes, via 
Skids, – from Skids, via 
From Plain Video, via d'archive
From Plain Video, via d'archive – from Plain Video, via d/Archive