Gordon Bennett

Ask a Policeman

1993

In Tate Modern

Level 3: A Year in Art: Australia 1992

Level 3: A Year in Art: Australia 1992
Artist
Gordon Bennett 1955–2014
Medium
Etching on paper
Dimensions
Image: 195 × 148 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Leanne and Caitlin Bennett in memory of and admiration for Gordon Bennett 2019
Reference
P15029

Display caption

Bennett intentionally creates ambiguity in this print, leaving the viewer to reflect on issues of Black deaths in police custody and suicide. In Australia, these disproportionately affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Bennett raises questions about the culpability of police in his annotation ‘Place rope around neck and pull – if you need help, ask a policeman’. The area of black suggests the black square painted by Kazimir Malevich, continuing Bennett’s line of enquiry around the nature of abstraction and whether it is possible to transcend cultural context.

Gallery label, July 2021

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