Christian Lock’s Black Flag

The latest exhibition of Christian Lock’s artworks features a number of black monochrome paintings and sculptures that resemble black flags.

Heavily influenced by the current climate of political upheaval and change, it’s fitting that Lock is the first exhibition at the newly formed organisation Contemporary SA (its interim name).

Contemporary SA is the result of a forced merger between the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia and the Australian Experimental Art Foundation due to political pressure in the form of funding cuts.

Over the last few years, Lock has been creating works that are less confined by the frame of the painting, becoming more site specific and more of an installation. These new black monochrome works continue to blur the line between painting, sculpture and installation. They will be hung on a yellow wall where the whole wall will basically be activated, becoming a painting in itself.

Lock often draws on art history and popular culture and there is evidence of this in these new works. He has delved into the history of the black monochrome and in particular artists such as Kazimir Malevich and Ad Reinhardt. Through his investigations he found that black monochromes were often used at times of political and aesthetic upheaval.

“When artists are trying to force change, or wipe away the years before, these black monochromes have appeared,” says Lock.

“It reinforced my idea that abstract painting can reflect what’s happening in your everyday life rather than being something that is purely abstract.”

In terms of popular culture influences, Lock was into punk music growing up, attracted to its political and social commentary. He was into the American band Black Flag whose logo was a black flag, a symbol for anarchism.

Lock’s sculptures, made with resin, fiberglass and cloth, resemble black flags captured in a moment. “It’s a moment that is frozen in movement. They look like these giant black flags that are frozen. Like they were blowing around and then all of a sudden froze,” he says.

Lock’s work hasn’t been as overly political in the past, as he is often expressing things that are going on around him or happening in his own life.

“My work has always been about something affecting me and I suppose at the moment politics is really affecting everyone and is in everyone’s face and you can’t really get away from it. It’s probably filtering through more than it has in the past.”

Christian Lock: Blackflag
Lion Arts Centre
Wednesday, March 15 to Sunday, April 23

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