From Rebecca Gallo…
Depending on who you’re dealing with, providing biographical details when talking about an artist’s work has varying degrees of relevance. In Aleks Danko’s case, that he was born in Adelaide in 1950 to Ukranian refugee parents provides a vital context for the art he has made over the last 50 years. The epitome of Australian suburbia in which Danko grew up is a significant theme in his work, and his ability to utilise the suburban vernacular to comment upon it is a unique feature of that insider-outsider status conferred upon the first generation in any new country. Danko’s wry humour, persistent throughout his work, can also be traced to his parents, along with the experience of internalising English as a second language, with all its quirks and absurdities.
MY FELLOW AUS-TRA-ALIENS at the MCA is a survey of works on paper, sculpture, text and installation that gives an insight into five decades of Danko’s art. Blank red ‘idiot’ faces, a recurring simple house motif and concrete poetry are all explorations of everyday places, people, words and objects. By simplifying them to the point of archetypes, Danko reveals absurdities, glitches and inconsistencies in that odd concoction of slang, colonialism and provincialism that is widely considered to comprise contemporary Australian culture.
Until October 18
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, The Rocks
Pic: Aleks Danko, MY FELLOW AUS-TRA-ALIENS, installation view, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2015. Image courtesy the artist and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. © the artist. Photograph: Jessica Maurer.