Between A Rock


Bendigo Art Gallery

Via San Vitale 69, 40125 Bologna, Italy

Selected clips from:
Between a Rock
Single channel

Brendan Lee: Between a Rock…
18 August – 23 September 2007

Between a Rock is an installation by Brendan Lee commissioned for the Bendigo Art Gallery. Incorporating newly created video footage projected amongst a forest of car tyres, Lee examines the relationship between place, film and history. The towering tyres place the piece tenuously between a suburban and rural setting, with enormous pieces of floor text – ‘out of bounds’ – creating a physical and psychological point of demarcation.
Focusing on key moments from Puberty Blues, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Muriel’s Wedding and Somersault, the installation Between a Rock explores the history of fear through the lost child in the Australian bush and the resurgence of debate on national identity. Specifically focusing on filmic depictions of group identity and exclusion, Lee dresses four young women cast from rural Victoria in sports uniforms and samples dialogue and contemporary cultural references to examine the Australian underbelly represented in film.
Between a Rock is the continuation of Lee's series of installations looking at Australian film history, filmic locations and our portrayal of cultural identity. Proving Ground 2007 (commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art) depicted stereotypes of masculinity in Australian film history and culture. From pubs to burnouts, Proving Ground was an over the top portrayal of the hard drinking Aussie larrikin. Between a Rock is the accompaniment focusing on female stereotypes and group mentality.
In this video the changing female lead is repeatedly excluded from the group only to be banished into the surrounding bush from where she emerged. We find ourselves observing the lost girl through typically Australian scrub and flora, watching her stumble across the friends who have rejected her. Donning Australian flag masks (an ongoing element in Lee's videos) the girls appear to be consoling one of the group. The intruding girl interrupts their private discussion and is immediately treated with derision and made a focus of ridicule.
The world appears so much better for the young woman when she puts on the rose coloured glasses - to the horror of the already unfriendly unit. Chiko rolls, Hanging Rock and Australian flags all form part of the larger list of references included in Between a Rock.
Considering Australian film history and folklore, Lee examines more widely how cultural identity is developed through filmic representation. As Lee comments, "I'm not a film-maker. My interpretation of the film is the art."
Lee asks how our reading of the video alters when we discover it takes place at Hanging Rock? Why are they celebrating Australian representation and how can indigenous history be obscured by Anglo-Saxon film and literature? Metaphor, symbolism and history are all condensed in the latest addition to Lee's series of Australian Cultural works.