Luke gained his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2009 at the University of Auckland, going on to complete a Master of Fine Arts in 2010 at the same institution. In 2013 and 2014 he was a Guest Student at Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt am Main in Germany. In addition to this, Luke has been resident at Sa Sa Bassac Cambodia Exchange Project, Cambodia, 2013 and Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main, 2014. Most notably, Luke was the winner of the
Luke of Fijian and European descent, frequently deals with the social implications of the ready-made – drawing from the biographical to inform his curatorial decision-making. His work summons racial and class based discourse and is provocative in its physicality yet there is an elusive reasoning behind his choices and an ambiguity regarding the role of the audience and the artist. Luke’s work is not only challenging for the viewer but it also sets a precedent for the institution of art – questioning agency of the artist and responsibility of the audience to create context within a work.
Untitled from If you were to live here…, Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, 2013 consists of the relocated garage doors tagged on by teenager Pihema Cameron on the evening he was killed in 2008 by South Auckland man Bruce Emery. Luke has taken the simple act of relocating a site of historical significance which shifts the status quo giving the site and its related trauma time for further contemplation. Luke is using the physicality of these doors to provide a corporeal experience - putting the viewer in the moment of Pihema Cameron’s murder - bringing to light the disturbing and condemning issue of social and racial prejudice within New Zealand as expressed by the media and public opinion.
Luke’s exhibitions include Walters Prize Exhibition, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 2014; FOREIGN EXCHANGE (or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger), Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt, 2014; On this day alone, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 2013; If you were to live here…, Auckland Triennial, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 2013; Between memory and trace, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, Pakuranga, 2012; Made Active: The Chartwell Show, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 2012; In Spite of Ourselves: Approaching Documentary, St Paul St Gallery, AUT, Auckland, 2012; inthisholeonthisislandwhereiam, Hopkinson Cundy, Auckland, 2012; Yaw, RM gallery, Auckland, 2011.
Luke Willis Thompson is represented by Hopkinson Mossman