MOUNTED 3.57M X 2.5M LIGHT BOX IN HIGSON LANE
‘The Banquet’, a photographic reinterpretation of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s painting The Banquet of Cleopatra, was mounted in a light box and hung in Higson Lane. The photograph reproduced the composition and dimensions of the original work, with look-alikes of celebrities Paris Hilton and David Beckham standing in for Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, with 21st century styling, and with elements of Melbourne’s cityscape photoshopped in to exactly replace the architectural elements in the painting.
‘The Banquet’ was created at a time when Australia was in the middle of one of its longest droughts on record. The team identified water as the most precious resource. Paris Hilton as Cleopatra is shown carelessly discarding a glass of water, oblivious to the poor bystander who is hoping for something to drink, and unaware of the parched earth that surrounds the lush grass at the feet of her coterie.
In drawing on this celebrated work from the National Gallery of Victoria’s collection, Visionary Images harnessed Tiepolo’s work to comment on the mindlessness of celebrity culture, excessive consumption and waste in our society.