Mike Parr Painted In Own Blood As He Launches New Exhibition

'Australia's most renowned and influential performance artist.'

12/08/2016 3:02 PM AEST | Updated 13/09/2016 9:27 AM AEST
Video by Emily Verdouw

Mike Parr is one of Australia's most well-known artists, both at home and internationally.

Having started with conceptual art in the 1970s', Parr has used the last four decades to delve into film, painting, sculpture, printmaking and performance art.

He is an artist who constantly pushes the boundaries, he wants his audience to be confronted by his art.

And now his vast body of work will be showing at The National Gallery of Australia, in an exhibit called Mike Parr: Foreign Looking, launched in Canberra Thursday night with a live performance.

In front of a crowd of 200 or more, he was drained of four vials of blood and then painted in it while he lay on the floor in front of Jackson Pollock's Blue Poles -- a piece of art that has been of great significance to Parr.

"Mike Parr was a young artist when the gallery acquired that work in 1975. It was a great time that art was being purchased at that sort of level. Art was important to culture in Australia at the time, which people would say there is possibly not the same sort of support now, Roger Butler, Senior Curator at the NGA told The Huffington Post Australia.

"[Parr] will talk about Pollock's as being a performance artist or as an early performance artist. Working on the grounds, painting all over it, Mike sees that as a parallel to his own practice."

The exhibition spans nine galleries and presents works never previously seen, including distorted self-portrait photographs.

"Mike Parr is without doubt Australia's most renowned and influential performance artists," Butler said.

"His disruptive and often political work has been the subject of debate for over four decades and we are thrilled to have so much of his artists journey represented in this exhibition."

'Mike Parr: Foreign Looking' is showing from August 12- November 6, 2016 at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Entry is free.