27 November 2010 to 26 February 2011- Institute of Modern Art
Performance artist Luke Roberts has been a key figure in the Brisbane art scene for over three decades. He has developed an intricate personal mythology that collapses personal and political, local and cosmological, and past and future to offer a unique spin on themes of religion, sexuality, and human history.

Roberts started doing drag performances as Alice Jitterbug in the early 1970s. In the late 1970s, this persona was superseded by Pope Alice, who was related in part to both Pope Joan (the legendary cross-dressing female pope) and Lewis Carroll’s Alice. According to Roberts, Pope Alice came from the planet Metalluna, and landed at Alice Springs, giving her name to the place. Through this alternative-pontiff persona, Roberts has been able to contest the Catholicism in which he was raised (particularly its repressive attitudes to sexuality), while drawing on its paraphernalia and iconographies.

Roberts has created works in many different media, however photography is central to his practice. Much of his work can be characterised as ‘performance for photography’. The heart of AlphaStation/Alphaville is a new body of photographic work produced over the last two years. The exhibition’s title refers to Roberts’s birthplace of Alpha (a backblocks Queensland town) and to Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 sci-fi movie, set on another planet far in the future but shot in everyday locations in Paris). Much of the work finds Roberts returning to his birthplace and making work with family members. There is a lot of self-portraiture. Roberts plays an indian (with his father) and a shaman (with his mother), and imagines himself as Hitler, Andy Warhol, and Edie Beale. He also appears with Indigenous artist Richard Bell, in works that address the legacy of Australia’s colonial history. The new works will be prefaced by a ‘greatest hits’ selection of his earlier photographs.

Gallery Hours