Head-Painting (Asbestos Tracking in Hi Red Center 1972)

Head-Painting (Asbestos Tracking in Hi Red Center 1972)

  • Artist

    Guy Benfield

  • Production Date


  • Medium

    single channel video, standard definition (SD), 4:3, colour, stereo sound

  • Size

    1min 8sec

  • Credit

    Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2004

  • Accession Number


  • Accession Date

    01 Sep 2004

  • Department

    International Art

  • Classification


  • Collection


  • Description

    History returns as farce in the work of Guy Benfield. His campy video-performances and installations mix references to a 1970s Sydney bohemian lifestyle (witnessed first hand as a child) with references to sensational avant-garde art of similar vintage. The video Head Painting shows Benfield pouring paint on himself while dragging himself down the gallery wall, leaving paint-trails where his head and shoulder make contact. The performance recalls Paul McCarthy's famous 1970s performance, painting a line on the floor using his head as a brush. What Benfield leaves on the wall looks like Zen-inspired action-calligraphy after Max Gimblett. However, Benfield's behind-the-scenes document presents his creative act as not heroic, expressive or meditative, but routine, abject, forlorn. (Snake Oil, 2005)

Exhibition history