born Australia 1962
"Songs of Australia volume 16
Shh, go back to sleep (an un-Australian dob-in mix)" 2004
plywood, pencil and ink on paper, lighting, audio unit, DVD continuous loop (voice: Robbie McGregor, piano solo Song of Australia: Bryony Marks), synthentic polymer paint, vinyl text
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
© Courtesy of the artist, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney
SONGS OF AUSTRALIA VOLUME 16 - SHH, GO BACK TO SLEEP (an un-Australian dob-in mix) 2004, is the culmination of Aleks Danko's Songs of Australia cycle , a body of work completed between 1996 and 2004. References specific to the artist's own childhood and his experiences as a child of immigrant parents growing up in the suburbs of Adelaide appear throughout the Volumes, and are used to reflect both the differences and, often, startling similarities between the social, cultural and political landscape of Australia, then and now.
Through the insertion of his own history into the public domain, as well as an analysis of life through the filter of his own experiences, Aleks Danko holds up the suburbs and, as a result, the 'Australian dream' for scrutiny. The closed doors and windows of the cubby-house home that appears throughout the Songs of Australia cycle not only exclude entry, but also prevent all interaction with the outside world. The blazing lights that stream from the structure in VOLUME 16 achieve a similar end. The imaginary occupants of Danko's house are not simply unwilling, but perhaps also incapable (at worst, disinterested) in engaging with the potential opportunities and difficulties of the world beyond their doors.
Danko's practice pushes us to re-examine the world in which we live, combining the symbols and texts of the everyday with a healthy dose of irony and humour, so that we are able to recognise not only aspects of ourselves, but of our society and our values (shared or not).