Movie culture has become part of our collective lifeblood. We live and breath movies. We worship the people who star in them and the people who make them like earthly gods. Much like other human beings, Timba Smits grew up surrounded by movies. His earliest memories as a nipper in Melbourne involved bingeing on the cinema of Arnold Schwarzenegger, an obsession which soon led him to create his own remixed versions of Chuck Norris action spectaculars, with the help of his similarly entranced brothers. This fixation reached its apex when he cued up his 20th viewing of the film Forrest Gump – a work he considers to be an all-time favourite.
Role Models is a new collection which combines nostalgia for the way movies can shape who we are, and the whimsical nature of screen acting whereby a real person assumes the identity of a fictional doppelganger. In a cine-pop-culture series of prints, Timba explores this fascination with icons of the screen by mixing together some of the cinematic characters that have inspired his own life and work. The show includes a star-spangled cast of legends: Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, Uma Thurman and, of course, Arnold Schwarzennegger. From Forrest Gump to Conan the Barbarian, he has created new, multi-tiered portraits of these icons as exquisite corpses – a reference to a drawing game he played as a young artist in training. The results evoke the colorful world of modern movie devotion, but also offer the disquieting undertow of a major identity crisis.
Written by David Jenkins, editor, Little White Lies