Christian Thompson, Berceuse (still), 2017

Christian Thompson: Ritual Intimacy

Curated by Charlotte Day and Hetti Perkins

Monday 12 February Sunday 18 March 2018

Drawing from the first major survey of the work of Bidjara artist Christian Thompson, the Samstag Museum of Art presents Ritual Intimacy at the University of South Australia’s SASA Gallery.

Through video, sound and photography, Thompson explores the concept of 'spiritual repatriation', which he developed recently working with the Australian collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum to complete his PhD at the University of Oxford. Rather than appropriating or restaging problematic ethnographic images of Indigenous ancestors held in the Museum’s photographic collection, Thompson chose to spend significant periods of time with these images, absorbing their aura and developing a personal artistic and deferential response that is decisively empowered.

Ritual Intimacy features an ambitious new commission, Berceuse, 2017. In this immersive three-channel sound and video installation, Thompson sings in Bidjara – his ancestral language that is considered to be officially endangered. Thompson practices what he describes as ‘the simple yet profound idea that if even one word of an endangered language is spoken it continues to be a living language’.

Ritual Intimacy by Christian Thompson is a Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) exhibition curated by Charlotte Day, Director, MUMA and Hetti Perkins and presented at SASA Gallery by Samstag Museum of Art. This project has been supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. MUMA and Samstag Museum of Art acknowledge the support of the Gordon Darling Foundation for the accompanying publication.


VISIT: SASA Gallery is located cnr Fenn Place and Hindley Street
Kaurna Building, City West campus, University of South Australia, Adelaide

WATCH: Interview with Christian Thompson by Hetti Perkins


Ritual Intimacy Open Hours

12 February 2 March | Monday — Friday 9am 5pm

3 March 18 March | 10am 5pm daily