Mardi Gras Arts: "Plato's Rave" by Phil Soliman



Beginning with Plato’s suggestion that perhaps the physical world we perceive is a poor copy of actual reality, Melbourne-based artist Phil Soliman gleefully picks apart generally accepted theories of knowledge, systems of organisation and power hierarchies. Plato’s Rave is a playful yet complex exploration of what it means to be human in this particular universe, through two large scale installations.

The enormous, handmade mosaic of “Do you know Phil Soliman?" exposes the ‘truths’ that we take for granted, learnt consciously and unconsciously over the course of our lives. It also raises questions about ideas of free will and choice, through the capture and crystallisation of my ‘personality’ at the moment of installation, and the multiplicity of unique paths each viewer can take through the work.

“Self-portrait” is an exploration of identity, self-knowledge and decay in an age where rampant consumerism and aggressive individualism sit side by side with an increasingly popular tendency toward environmental, social and spiritual ‘mindfulness’. By compartmentalising the physical, psychological and sensual aspects of his self in mass-produced, environmentally damaging plastic containers, the artist points out and heightens that sense of guilt and disconnection that seems to be common especially amongst those of his generation.


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