22
Nov
11

Exhibition: ‘Rückenfigur’ by David-Ashley Kerr at Dear Patti Smith ARI, Fitzroy

Exhibition dates: 17th November – 27th November 2011

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Congratulations to David-Ashley Kerr on his first solo exhibition: the photographs and concept are very interesting.
Many thankx to David for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs to see a larger version of the image.

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David-Ashley Kerr
I hear the River

2009
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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David-Ashley Kerr
I hear the Sea
2010
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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David-Ashley Kerr
I hear the Wind
2010
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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“Although rückenfigur is popularly associated with the German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich, its appearances in art very much pre-date his time. Early forms of it were attributed to Giotto but it became a more substantial style in the 15th century, creeping into the works of painters such as Jan van Eyck and later with Allaert van Everdingen and Jan Luiken

Often these uses were simply to direct the viewer to behold the landscape in the scene. Friedrich’s approach transfigured this into a different concept, sometimes referred to as “the halted traveller”, where the lonely wanderer has appeared to have been “stopped” by the view of the landscape. This implies to us as a viewer that there is perhaps more to the landscape than we see, but those thoughts may remain unknown to us… privately contained in the mind of the rückenfigur in the scene.

It appears to me that in looking at rückenfigur art, there are two distinct thematic conveyances. The first is the aforementioned “halted traveller” lost in the contemplation of the landscape. In gazing upon the landscape, the rückenfigur is quite separate from the scene being viewed. Although s/he is anonymous and without identity, there is still a distinct identity from that of the landscape.

The second appears, to me at least, to be quite the opposite. Another form of rückenfigur seems to be where the figure(s) are distantly placed deep within the landscape itself. You’ve still got “back figures” in contemplation, but the composition makes them part of the landscape rather than separate. While we still identify with them as a viewer, the identity of the figures are very much subsumed into the grandeur of the landscape, maybe even biblically so.”

Text by Christian Were, Melbourne

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David-Ashley Kerr
I hear Them
2010
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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David-Ashley Kerr
Territory
2010
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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David-Ashley Kerr is a Melbourne based visual artist working with large-format photography. This is his first Australian solo show, a selection of landscape studies completed since 2009 that began as a photographic investigation of the Rückenfigur, or back figure. This visual device is commonly associated with German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. It involves depicting a human figure that does not engage the viewer, introspectively contemplating the natural world or landscape before them.

David-Ashley Kerr’s photographic practice is a visual inquiry into the relationship between cultural identity and physical environment, site, or place. He currently investigates the use of a staged lone figure in contemporary landscape photography, attempting a symbolic representation of belonging to ‘place’ in a national context, in relation to both indigenous and non-indigenous Australian ownership and connection to land.

David-Ashley Kerr completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Art at Deakin University (2009) and a Master of Fine Art at RMIT University (2010). He is currently undertaking a PhD at Monash University on an Australian Postgraduate Award Scholarship, his research inquiring into place theory through photography, investigating the visual relationship between Australian cultural identity and physical environment.

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David-Ashley Kerr
Ore
2010
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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David-Ashley Kerr
Trash
2010
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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David-Ashley Kerr
Game
2009
Lightjet Photographic Print
80 x 140cm

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Dear Patti Smith
The Paterson Building
L2, 181 Smith St., Fitzroy
(enter from Smith St above TSL)
T: 9417 2293

Dear Patti Smith website

David-Ashley Kerr website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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