Derek Sargent is an artist currently based in Adelaide Australia. His multi-media practice includes moving image, sculpture forms, installation and photography. He graduated from the University of South Australia with first class honours in 2013 where he won the Constance Gordon-Johnson Sculpture and Installation Prize. He has exhibited at the National Graduate Exhibition at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Helpmann Academy Graduate exhibition. He has also had individual exhibitions at Fontanelle in Adelaide, Constance in Hobart and Firstdraft Gallery in Sydney. He has also been exhibited in both New York and London.In 2015 Sargent was awarded the Anne & Gordon Samstag international visual arts scholarship and travelled to London to complete a Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at the Chelsea College of the Arts. He is former Co-Director of the Adelaide ARI FELTspace and the former education officer at the South Australian School of Art Gallery.
My work investigates themes of sexual identity, authenticity and popular cultural production. I explore evolvements of queer identity and draw on historical references and materials to critique twenty first century dominant histories as they are bound in normative sexual identities. My interest in questioning why and how notions of authenticity are privileged within different historical and political moments therefore approaches and explores sexual identity beyond sexual practice and rather as a site of rich production and expression within and responding to existing structures of power. I am especially interested in examining situations where inauthenticity can create contradictions within dominant histories and thus amplify queer narrative. I see my work skewing the narrative of sexuality towards one that jars common interpretations. The point at which this cognitive jarring occurs represents what theorist Alexander Doty refers to as a ‘queer moment’, that is, when the narrative of heteronormativity is thrown off course for a moment, for anyone regardless of sexual identity.