Tom Nicholson: The activation of the artwork

In the decade since I first wrote about Melbourne artist Tom Nicholson his work has been exhibited in Europe, the United States, Chile, Palestine and China, often in major exhibitions, and he has intensified his observation of histories local and global. Bearing in mind the subjects of his early work – the portrait image in a mediatised, transnational culture, the act of political demonstration, and the historical document – the widespread interest in his work could seem inevitable; certainly, since the GFC, curators in Europe have been more concerned with economics and politics. In Australia Nicholson’s work remains exceptional in its attention to the relation between methods of political and historical representation and the notion of the social self.

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