House of Discards
The National | Carriageworks
29 March - 23 June 2019
Interested in its inherent precocity, the house of cards is a recurring motif in Tony Albert's work. In the past, he has built the houses using playing cards taken from his collection of 'Aboriginalia', a term coined by the artist to describe objects which bear the stolen faces and pilfered cultural imagery of Aboriginal people.
In House of Discards (2019) Albert departs from his unmistakeable representational style. With the Aboriginal imagery discarded and the suit erased, the relationship between the two sides is sharply defined in a succinct abstraction. Through his practice Albert works to invert the histories of the past, allowing stolen stories to play a part. Here, in a monochromatic sleight of hand, the untold is laid bare. By returning to past forms, Albert's practice acknowledged that the past has not 'passed' while remaining eternally optimistic that it will.
Text: Aarna Fitzgerald Hanley, Assistant Curator, Visual arts, Carriageworks