Kit Wise’s recent work comprises an exploration of the role of contemporary art in ‘witnessing’ events of disaster, trauma or crisis. Works have addressed recent air disasters as well as the aftermath of the devastating tsunami that followed the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake in 2011. Using open source archive photographs taken by American military surveillance aircraft soon after the event, the work explores the relationship between montage as both disaster and studio practice, re-flooding the images to consider how we interpret and respond to the documentation of crisis. In previous work, Wise has collected popular representations of archetypal idyllic landscapes from open source archives, international agencies, and online photographic resources or, in some cases, images that he has taken himself while travelling, to explore the possibility of discovering arcadia within the digital age. Wise’s work is at once complex and accessible; part collage, part mash-up, infinitely layered, texturally and conceptually rich. He examines our increasing acceptance of all things digitally synthetic; our self-perpetuating desire for the fabricated and the faux.
KIT WISE’s recent solo exhibitions include Arcadia, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago (2012); Disaster, Australian Experimental Art Foundation (2011); Summertime, ACCA@ Mirka, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2009) and Rhapsodia, Centre for Contemporary Photography (2007) among many others. He has been curated into numerous group exhibitions throughout Australia, Europe, and Asia. In 2009, he was selected into the Asian Art Biennial in Taiwan, at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and in 2011, he received support from ArtsVictoria and the Besen Family Foundation to present a major new digital video work at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. In 2014, Wise initiated a major collaborative public project at MONA, Heavy Metal Retaining Wall, and an urban performance work, Birrarung River Drawing, commissioned by Maudie Palmer as part of the ongoing Birrarung Project. Wise completed a PhD at Monash University in 200 and is currently Professor of Fine Art and Head of the Tasmanian College of the Arts, University of Tasmania.