the cell

Brook Andrew: The Cell

Essay and interview by: Wayne Tunnicliffe

Jointly published with Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation.


Brook Andrew has created a huge new inflatable sculpture. Twelve by six by three metres, The Cell is decorated inside and out with Andrew's trademark Wiradjuri/ op-art pattern. To enter, one must first don a costume, also covered in the pattern. These costumes recall those worn by forensic technicians to avoid contaminating crime scenes. In wearing them, are we donning 'the skin of the other', to merge with his environment and feel at one with him? Or, conversely, are the overalls camouflage or disguise, allowing us to lurk? Is Andrew's padded-cell-cum-jumping-castle punishment or playpen—for us or against us? Our book, which documents the work and its production, includes an incisive essay by Art Gallery of New South Wales curator Wayne Tunnicliffe and an illuminating interview with the artist. Designed in consultation with the artist, it has a perforated plate section. The buyer-reader must overcome their threshold anxiety and 'rip into' it, just as the user of The Cell must 'get over themselves' in order to don a stripy costume and crawl into the work.

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