This month, Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium transformed into Marvel Stadium. Simultaneously, contemporary artist Philippe Le Miere unveiled his new series BLOCK-BUSTER, which stars paintings of iconic movie posters from Star Wars, to Spiderman and Pulp Fiction. While exacting different ends, these events reveal something so obvious, it’s almost imperceivable - Hollywood’s hand in Australian culture.
For Le Miere the story starts long before Hollywood. Rather than a series about films per se, BLOCK-BUSTER is an investigation into myth-making - a practice as old as civilisation itself. For him, Hollywood is the engine behind our contemporary myths, producing the heroes and villains driving our collective consciousness. Don’t believe him? Just check out the data. More than any other cultural product, Hollywood films command our attention. And like all myths, these stories come to bear on the individual.
Realising the relationship between myth-making, Hollywood and the self formed the impetus for BLOCK-BUSTER. It also however, formed the challenge. From the get-go, Le Miere found himself confronted by the problem of making something so ubiquitous, unique. In other words, how could he make Darth Vader - one of the most recognisable villains of the Western world, new? In contending with this problem, he found his own sense of self at stake. In tearing, twisting, contorting and rebuilding Darth, his own perspective evolved.
To ignore the presence of Hollywood in Australian culture, is to ignore the reality. Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, is just one recent example of our public endorsement of Transatlantic box-office hits. Whether distasteful or thrilling, Hollywood undeniably affects how we think about ourselves and our culture. From this perspective, BLOCK-BUSTER isn’t here to just inspire condemnation or consumption. Instead, Le Miere’s remixed superheroes and villains embark on a different quest - to make us question not only Hollywood, but myths themselves.