Yavuz Gallery is pleased to announce Yimba Yimbana / Just Listen, the first survey exhibition of the pioneering language-based sound artist Christian Thompson AO.
Yimba Yimbana / Just Listen brings together Thompson’s compelling and ethereal sound works, centered around an enduring premise on the notion that if one word of the artist’s endangered Bidjara is spoken, or sung, it remains a living language. Combining evocative chanting and electronic elements, Thompson invokes the cultural experiences and narratives of his Bidjara culture. Comprising seven sound works from a repertoire spanning over two decades, Thompson continues his Bidjara language, creating illuminating prose to form prevailing narratives from the lives of Thompson’s ancestors pre-invasion.
“A key thread underpinning the two decades of my art-making practice has always been about re-energizing and re-generating language. In all its simplicity and purity, Yimba Yimbana / Just Listen is a body of work that wholeheartedly embraces the power and strength in the act of spoken language. This is the first time these audio works are presented together” explains the artist.
The show considers the significance of language through sound works from a foundational perspective from the pre-colonised world. Together with the audio exhibition, Thompson debuts a new photographic work, Rights Land, that expands on themes of identity, history and cultural representation embodying an introspective shift in Thompson’s practice.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Dr Christian Thompson AO (b. 1978, Australia) is a Bidjara man of the Kunja Nation with Chinese-Australian heritage. His practice spans across video, photography, sculpture, performance and sound, evolving through a process of auto – ethnography. While employing various modes of research, he connects his own experience to larger social, political, cultural meanings and understandings. Thompson grew up in rural and urban environments in the 1980s and 90s and he interweaves references to his Bidjara culture throughout his multidisciplinary practice to address issues of colonialism, identity and cultural representation. His doctoral research and art practice has had a critical impact on International and Australian art. In 2015, Thompson was mentored by the pioneering performance artist Marina Abramović and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2018 for distinguished services to the visual arts and as a role model to young indigenous artists in the Queen’s Birthday honours list.
Thompson has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. His solo exhibitions include Bayi Gardiya, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne; and We Bury Our Own, The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK. His work has been included in prestigious group exhibitions including 11th Shanghai Biennale: Why Not Ask Again, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China ; Australia, The Royal Academy for the Arts, London, UK; Undisclosed 2nd National Indigenous Triennial. From 2017 to 2019, a major survey exhibition of Thompson’s work curated by Charlotte Day and Hetti Perkins, Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy, toured across Australia. Thompson is a research affiliate at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, UK.