Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ben Frost

Ben Frost is a post-modern Australian pop artist born in Brisbane in 1975. His work consists in controversial and confrontational juxtapositions of iconic images. These are taken from the worlds of advertising, entertainment and politics. With his work Ben Frost wants to challenge contemporary norms and values of Western culture and society. He was rewarded with the ‘Karl and Gertrude Langer Memorial Award for Highest Overall Score, Qld College of Art’ in 1996. He also won the ‘Winner Painting Category, Churchie Exhibition Of Emerging Art’ in 1997 and 1998.

The painting ‘White Children Playing in the Late 1900s’ shows two children. A kneeling young girl uses a cigarette lighter to heat drugs in a spoon held by a young boy. The girl also has syringes in one hand. You can see an aircarft coming down in the corner: it is likely to crash on the children. The painting owner is Michael Notman. It was painted in June 1995 and it is considered as an anti-drugs piece. It is quite a controversial painting, probably censored. That is why it is not easy to find a picture of it on the Internet.

‘Ben Frost is dead’ is the title of his most famous solo exhibition. It took place in 2000. On that occasion, he sent his invitations in the form of newspaper funeral notice, which made everyone believe that he was dead. It was much criticised because it coincided with the death of another artist.

The term ‘Colossus’ refers to his exhibition in collaboration with Roderick Bunter. Society’s continuing loss of innocence is one of the themes he deals with. During another exhibition, the painting ‘Where Do You Want To Go Today ?’ was removed due to its provocation. From 2002 up to now Ben Frost has kept on exhibiting in other cities, like Tokyo and Sidney.

As stated above, Frost's work is made of juxtapositions of different elements; for example, Disney characters, Hello Kitty, the Simpsons. Ben Frost manipulates the techniques of advertising from everyday life and turns them into something not convincing but rather provocative. A lot of people around the world are fans of his paintings, even though these latter are quite unconventional.

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