Posts Tagged ‘momenti mori

06
Sep
11

Review: ‘Scott’s Last Expedition’ at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney

Exhibition dates: 17th June – 16th October 2011

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'The former whaling ship, the 'Terra Nova'' 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
The former whaling ship, the ‘Terra Nova’
1911
Gelatin silver print
Canterbury Museum NZ

 

 

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

.
John 15:13

 

 

It is difficult to describe how heroic a figure Robert Scott, ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ was to a child of the Empire growing up in the 1960s. He and his doomed party were, and still are, the quintessential heroes of my youth. Despite what we now know of Scott’s failures in leadership and organisation, he and his comrades remain embedded in English consciousness as all that is noble about the explorers of the time. They may have failed to become the first to reach the South Pole and died on the return journey but what a magnificent effort it was, what camaraderie and fortitude they showed in the face of adversity.

At the centre of the exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney is a representation of Scott’s base camp at Cape Evans. Visitors can walk inside the life-size hut and get a sense of the everyday realities for the 25 expedition members, from the cramped conditions and homeliness of the hut, to the wealth of specimens collected and experiments conducted. The exhibition also reunites the artefacts used by Scott and his team together with scientific specimens collected during the 1910-1913 expedition for the first time since their use in Antarctica. The exhibition uses life-size reproductions of the photographs of Herbert Ponting. At this scale it enables the viewer to inspect in intimate detail the habitus of their lives.

What a master of photography Ponting was. His photographs are classically framed and formally restrained; his use of light is magical. The camera always seems to be in the perfect position to capture the subject, neither too high or low but beautifully balanced so that the eye is led into the photograph, to investigate those wonderful nooks and crannies of the image plane. Because of the excellent quality press images I have been able to close in on details of the photographs (a la Ken Burns). The receding row of male faces to the left of Scott’s birthday dinner, June 1911 (below) that lead to Scott as the focal point at the head of the table, flags of St. George flying above, the two standing men acting as vertical counterpoints to the equipoise of the horizontal perspectival point – and then we glimpse the punctum of the piece of bread held between darkened fingers and thumb of the man caught in mid-conversation with his neighbour. Also note the framed images on the wall behind at top left, bearing witness to the fact that living is more civilised in such a desolate place if you are surrounded by images of culture and home.

This remembrance becomes poignant in the photograph Scott writing in his area of the expedition hut, Scott’s cubicle (below). In the detail of the image we observe candid photographs of what are presumably Scott’s wife in two photographs that are slightly different from each other, his wife and child, his father and small photographs of his children pinned to the hut’s wall. Memories of home and family that become multiple momenti mori – the death of the people in the images pinned to the wall, the death present in Pontings’ photograph (the little death at the point in time that the photograph was taken) and the death of Scott himself. The pocket watch hung from a wooden post only adds to this sense of refractive timelessness.

The sense of these men living in close quarters in this community is beautifully captured in Ponting’s photograph The Tenements, 9 October 1911 (below). Three vertical lozenges project into the space from the bottom of the image, each containing its own theatrical diorama. The balance and space between the men looking across, down, up and out of the image is outstanding. The distance between Oates in the top centre and the man on the right seems somehow infinite in the photograph, like the distance in Alfred Hitchcock’s film North by Northwest where Cary Grant is waiting for the bus in the middle of nowhere and on the other side of the road is another man, also waiting. The spatial tension between the two men in the photograph is palpable, emphasised by the stacked horizontal shelf behind them. The gaze of the man at bottom left allows the viewer some room for escape from the confines of the tenements and the confines of the image plane, for without that gaze the viewer would be caught with no way out. In the detail of this man we can, as before, note the importance of personal remembrances of home with a picture pinned on the wall behind his bunk and a Fry’s Cocoa box stored underneath.

And so to the final few photographs in the posting: the famous photograph of Scott and the Polar Party at the South Pole (below) taken by Henry Bowers. Taken the day after the party had arrived at the South Pole, only to discover that Roald Amundsen had beaten them to their goal by five weeks, Bowers (seated at bottom left) used a string to release the shutter of the camera that can just be seen in his right hand in the photograph – a photograph that was then printed by Herbert Ponting from the recovered glass plate negative. In the detail of Scott and Oates in this photograph you can see the weariness, anguish and defeat in faces that are sun and wind damaged, knowing that they had to trek all the way back from this awful place (as Scott himself said, “Great God! This is an awful place”).

I have put a photograph by Herbert Ponting, Captain Lawrence Edward Grace Oates during the British Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1913, below the detail of him at the South Pole. The face is almost unrecognisable from the strong, handsome face in Ponting’s picture, the prominent nose now blackened and dark being the only thing that make it recognisably the same person. In the detail of Ponting’s photograph, if you enlarge it, you can see two small points of light in his eyes, probably the light of the polar sun when Ponting took the photograph. For me these two spots of light become portents of what was to come as Oates walked out into a blizzard saying those immortal words, “I am just going outside and may be some time”. To me these points of light seared into his retina are like the driving snow that he walked out into in such a selfless act. It is very emotional for me as an Englishman and as a human being to look into the face of this man knowing what he was eventually to go through.

Though they failed in their quest to become the first to the South Pole, for this child, for this man they will forever remain my heroes.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to the Australian National Maritime Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Anonymous photographer. 'Captain Robert Falcon Scott' Nd

 

Anonymous photographer
Captain Robert Falcon Scott
Nd
Gelatin silver print
Licensed with permission of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'Members of the 'Terra Nova' expedition with Scott in the centre' 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Members of the ‘Terra Nova’ expedition with Scott in the centre
1911
Gelatin silver print
Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'Scott’s birthday dinner, June 1911'

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Scott’s birthday dinner, June 1911
1911
Gelatin silver print
Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'Scott’s birthday dinner, June 1911' (detail) 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Scott’s birthday dinner, June 1911 (detail)
1911
Gelatin silver print
Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'Scott writing in his area of the expedition hut, Scott's cubicle' 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Scott writing in his area of the expedition hut, Scott’s cubicle
1911
Gelatin silver print
Pennell Collection, Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'Scott writing in his area of the expedition hut, Scott's cubicle' (detail) 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Scott writing in his area of the expedition hut, Scott’s cubicle (detail)
1911
Gelatin silver print
Pennell Collection, Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'The Tenements, 9 October 1911'

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
The Tenements, 9 October 1911
1911
Gelatin silver print
Pennell Collection, Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'The Tenements, 9 October 1911' (detail)

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
The Tenements, 9 October 1911 (detail)
1911
Gelatin silver print
Pennell Collection, Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'Edward Atkinson in the laboratory' 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Edward Atkinson in the laboratory
1911
Silver gelatin print
Canterbury Museum NZ

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935) 'Edward Atkinson in the laboratory' (detail) 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Edward Atkinson in the laboratory (detail)
1911
Silver gelatin print
Canterbury Museum NZ

 

 

One hundred years after its tragic end, the definitive story of British explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica is being told in a major international exhibition coming to the Australian National Maritime Museum this June.

Scott’s Last Expedition will reunite real artefacts used by Scott and his team together with rare scientific specimens collected during the 1910-1913 expedition for the first time since their use in Antarctica.

When Scott set off on what was his second journey to explore the Antarctic on board the former whaling ship Terra Nova, he could not have predicted it would be his last. Tragically he and four of his colleagues died on the return trek to the South Pole two years later, having lost the race to be first. The exhibition however will go beyond the familiar tales of the journey to the Pole and the death of the Polar party to explore the Terra Nova expedition from every angle.

“Over the years public perceptions of Scott have varied greatly, from hero to flawed leader, and discussions of what really happened still captivate people,” said museum director Mary-Louise Williams today. “This exhibition will give visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in this epic journey and the remarkable landscape of Antarctica,” she said.

Visitors will uncover Scott the man, learn more about the people who made up the expedition and explore every fascinating detail of this historic journey. At the centre of the exhibition will be a life-size representation of Scott’s Cape Evans’ base camp. Visitors can walk inside and get a sense of the everyday realities for the expedition’s members… from the cramped conditions and homeliness of the hut to the wealth of specimens collected and scientific investigations conducted.

Original artefacts, equipment, clothes, and personal effects will be displayed for the first time in Australia and show the group’s attempts to make life in one of the most hostile environments on Earth as bearable as possible. Food tins including Fry’s Cocoa, Trufood Trumilk, and Symington’s Pea Flour recovered from the hut will be on display together with instruments, a microscope, and even Scott’s gramophone.

Photographs of the environment and life in camp taken by expedition photographer Herbert Ponting and poignant letters and diaries by various expedition members create a vivid picture of what life was like… working in hostile conditions, the struggles for survival and the strength of human endurance and courage.

Scott’s Terra Nova expedition made a significant contribution to Antarctic science. The expedition included a full scientific program with a large team of scientists making new discoveries which directly led to a greater understanding of Antarctica. The scientists had to endure harsh Antarctic conditions to carry out their work. It was cold, windy and completely dark in winter and, if not careful, the scientists could easily get frostbitten. And yet despite the conditions, the expedition left a rich legacy that continues to inspire and inform today.

Natural History Museum, London, the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand and the Antarctic Heritage Trust, New Zealand, have collaborated to create this exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the expedition and celebrate its achievements.

Press release from the Australian National Maritime Museum

 

Scott and the Polar Party at the South Pole

 

Scott and the Polar Party at the South Pole
Left to right: Captain Lawrence Oates, Lieutenant Henry Bowers (seated), Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Dr Edward Wilson (Seated), Petty Officer Edgar Evans
Licensed with permission of the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.

 

Notice the camera release cord in the right hand of Lieutenant Henry Bowers.

 

 

The fatal journey

Scott’s 1,450 km journey to the geographic South Pole began on 1 November 1911, two weeks after the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen left his base camp at the Bay of Whales. Amundsen reached the pole first – on 14 December 1911 – and then raced back to tell the world their news. Scott and his team reached the Pole a month later on 17 January 1912 having been beset by fierce weather conditions. The disappointment was immense. The return journey was undertaken in horrid weather with harsh, intense cold and violent blizzards that, in the end, defeated them. Evans failed first, suffering concussion from a fall; Oates suffered dramatic frostbite to his feet – gangrene had set in – and he crawled out of the tent saying the now famous words, “I am just going outside and may be some time”. The remaining men – Scott, Wilson and Bowers – were weak with malnutrition, starvation and exhaustion and perished on or around 29/30 March 1912 – some three weeks after the world learned that Amundsen had reached the Pole first.

 

Captain Robert Falcon Scott (detail)

 

Captain Robert Falcon Scott (detail)

 

Captain Lawrence Oates (detail)

 

Captain Lawrence Oates (detail)

 

Herbert Ponting. 'Lawrence Oates' c. 1911

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Captain Lawrence Edward Grace Oates during the British Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1913
c. 1911
Silver gelatin print
Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library

 

Herbert Ponting. 'Captain Lawrence Edward Grace Oates during the British Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1913' c. 1911 (detail)

 

Herbert Ponting (British, 1870-1935)
Captain Lawrence Edward Grace Oates during the British Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1913 (detail)
c. 1911
Silver gelatin print
Photographic Archive, Alexander Turnbull Library

 

 

Australian National Maritime Museum
2 Murray Street
Darling Harbour
Sydney NSW 2000
Australia

Opening hours:
Every day 10am – 4.00pm

Australian National Maritime Museum website

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15
Oct
09

Exhibition: ‘Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur’ at The Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 16th October 2009 – 28th February 2010

 

Media crowd at the Ricky Swallow exhibition 'The Bricoleur' at NGV Australia

 

Media crowd at the Ricky Swallow exhibition The Bricoleur at NGV Australia with Alex Baker, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV fourth from left with clasped hands.
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

Hot off the press straight to you here at Art Blart!

Photographs of the exhibition Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur at the National Gallery of Victoria Australia, Federation Square. The photographs are in the chronological order that I took them, walking through the three spaces of the exhibition. A spare, visually minimalist aesthetic to the show, where every vanitas, every mark (in)forms the work as transcendent momenti mori. Review to follow.

Many thankx to Sue, Alison, Jemma and the team for the usual excellent job and for allowing me to document the exhibition. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All photographs © Marcus Bunyan

 

 

“I’ve always been interested in how an object can be remembered and how that memory can be sustained and directed sculpturally, pulling things in and out of time, passing objects through the studio as a kind of filter returning them as new forms.”

.
Ricky Swallow

 

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'The Bricoleur' 2006

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
The Bricoleur
2006
Jelutong
48 x 9.75 x 9.75 inches
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Unbroken Ways (for Derek Bailey)' 2006

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Unbroken Ways (for Derek Bailey)
2006
English Limewood
5 x 30 x 7 inches
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'One Nation Underground' 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
One Nation Underground
2007
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'One Nation Underground' (detail) 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
One Nation Underground (detail)
2007
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Tusk' 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Tusk
2007
Bronze with white patina, brass fixtures
19.75 x 41.25 x 2.25 inches
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Tusk' (detail) 2007

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Tusk (detail)
2007
Bronze with white patina, brass fixtures
19.75 x 41.25 x 2.25 inches
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Rehearsal for Retirement' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Rehearsal for Retirement (detail)
2008
English Lime Wood, Poplar
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Rehearsal for Retirement' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Rehearsal for Retirement (detail)
2008
English Lime Wood, Poplar
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Bowman’s record' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Bowman’s record (detail)
2008
Bronze
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Bowman’s record' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Bowman’s record (detail)
2008
Bronze
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

Ricky Swallow’s sculptures address fundamental issues that lie at the core of who we are. Things have lives. We are our things. We are things. When all is said and done it is our things – our material possessions – that outlive us. Anyone who has lost a family member or close friend knows this: what we have before us once that person is gone are the possessions that formed a life. Just as we are defined and represented by the things that we collect over time, we are ultimately objects ourselves. When we are dead and decomposed what remains are our bones, another type of object. And then there is social science. Archaeology, a subfield of anthropology, is entirely based on piecing together narratives of human relations based on material culture, that is, objects both whole and fragmentary. It may seem obvious but it is worth stressing here that our understanding of cultures from the distant past, those that originated before the advent of writing, is entirely based on the study of objects and skeletal remains. Swallow’s art addresses these basic yet enduring notions and reminds us of our deep symbiotic relationship to the stuff of daily life.

Like the bricoleur put into popular usage by anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss in his seminal book The Savage Mind, Ricky Swallow creates works of art often based on objects from his immediate surroundings. His method, however, is more of a second order bricolage: his sculptures are not assemblages of found objects, but rather elegantly crafted things. Hand carved from wood or plaster or cast in bronze, these humble objects are transformed into memorials to both the quotidian and the passage of time.

 

Still life

The still life has been an important touchstone throughout Swallow’s recent practice as it is an inspired vehicle for the exploration of how meaning is generated by objects. Several sculptures in the exhibition reference the still-life tradition in which Swallow updates and personalises this time-honoured genre, in particular the vanitas paintings of 17th century Holland. Vanitas still lifes, through an assortment of objects that had recognisable symbolism to a 17th-century viewer, functioned as allegories on the futility of pleasure and the inevitably of death. Swallow’s embrace of still life convention, however, is non-didactic, secular and open-ended. Swallow is not obsessed by death. On the contrary, his focus on objects is about salvaging them from the dust bin of history and honouring their continued resonance in his life.

Killing time, 2003-2004, and Salad days, 2005, depict animals that Swallow and his family either found or caught when he was young and best highlight how the artist reclaims the still life genre to explore personal narrative. Killing time, which depicts a bounty of fish and crustaceans spread across a table modelled after the Swallow family kitchen table of the artist’s youth, is rife with autobiographical association. It not only references an object from Swallow’s past, but also the profession of his father, a fisherman, and the fact that Swallow was raised by the sea. Salad days is another autobiographical work depicting a range of animals such as birds, a rabbit, mice and a fox skull. Like many boys growing up in rural environments, Swallow recalls shooting magpies, encountering nesting birds in his garage or discovering dead lizards or trapping live ones in an attempt to keep them as pets.

While not an overt still life, History of holding, 2007, suggests the genre in its fragmentary depiction of a musical instrument and the appearance of a lemon with falling rind. The hand holding / presenting a peeled lemon as the rind winds around the wrist in bracelet-like fashion is based on a cast of Swallow’s own hand, insinuating himself into this antiquated tradition. It is as if Swallow is announcing to us his deep interest in the temporality of objects through the presentation of the peeled lemon, which symbolises the passing of time and also appears in Killing time. The second component of History of holding is a sculptural interpretation of the Woodstock music festival icon designed by Arthur Skolnick in 1969, which still circulates today. History of holding, then, also references music, a leitmotif in Swallow’s art that appears both within the work itself, and also through Swallow’s use of titles.

 

Body fragments

Tusk, 2007 among several other works in the exhibition, explores the theme of body as fragment. Much has been discussed about Swallow’s use of the skeleton as a form rich in meaning within both the traditions of art history as well as popular culture (references range from the Medieval dance macabre and the memento mori of the still life tradition to the skeleton in rock music and skateboard art iconography). Tusk represents two skeletal arms with the hands clasped together in eternal union. A poignant work, Tusk is a meditation on permanence: the permanence of the human body even after death; the permanence of the union between two people, related in the fusion of the hands into that timeless symbol of love, the heart.

 

Watercolours: atmospheric presentations, mummies, music, homage

Swallow calls his watercolours “atmospheric presentations”, in contradistinction to his obviously more physical sculptures, and he sees them as respites from the intensity of labour and time invested in the sculptural work. They also permit experimentation in ways that sculpture simply does not allow. One nation underground, 2007, is a collection of images based on rock / folk musicians, several who had associations to 1960s Southern California, Swallow’s current home. Most of the subjects Swallow has illustrated in this work are now deceased; several experienced wide recognition only after their deaths. Like many of his sculptures, this group of watercolours tenderly painted with an air of nostalgia has the sensibility of a memorial – or as Swallow has called it “a modest monument”. The title of the work is based on a record album by another under-heralded rock band from the 1960s, Pearls Before Swine, and is a prime example of Swallow’s belief in the importance of titles to the viewing experience as clues or layers of meaning. In this case, the title hints at the quasi-cult status of the musicians and singers depicted. The featured musicians are Chris Bell (Big Star), Karen Dalton (a folk singer), Tim Buckley (legendary singer whose style spanned several genres and father to the late Jeff Buckley), Denny Doherty (The Mamas & the Papas ), Judee Sill (folk singer), Brian Jones (Rolling Stones), Arthur Lee (Love), John Phillips (The Mamas & the Papas ), Skip Spence (Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape) and Phil Ochs (folk singer).

Text from the National Gallery of Victoria website [Online] Cited 15/10/2010

 

Installation view of 'Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur' second room at NGV Australia

Installation view of 'Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur' second room at NGV Australia

 

Installation views of Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur second space at NGV Australia
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Caravan' (detail) 2008

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Caravan (detail)
2008
Bronze
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Salad days' c.2005

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Salad days
c. 2005
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Killing time' 2003 - 04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time
2003-2004
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Killing time' (detail) 2003 - 04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time (detail)
2003-2004
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974) 'Killing time' 2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time
2003-2004
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

Ricky Swallow. 'Killing time' (detail) 2003-04

 

Ricky Swallow (Australian, b. 1974)
Killing time (detail)
2003-2004
Photo: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

A new exhibition featuring the work of internationally renowned Australian artist Ricky Swallow will open at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia on 16 October 2009.

Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur is the artist’s first major exhibition in Australia since 2006. This exhibition will feature several of the artist’s well‐known intricately detailed, carved wooden sculptures as well as a range of new sculptural works in wood, bronze and plaster. The exhibition will also showcase two large groups of watercolours, an aspect of Swallow’s practice that is not as well known as his trademark works.

Salad days (2005) and Killing time (2003-2004), which were featured in the 2005 Venice Biennale and are considered Swallow icons, will strike a familiar chord with Melbourne audiences.

Sculptures completed over the past year include bronze balloons on which bronze barnacles seamlessly cling (Caravan, 2008); a series of cast bronze archery targets (Bowman’s Record, 2008) that look like desecrated minimalist paintings; and carved wooden sculpture of a human skull inside what looks like a paper bag (Fig 1, 2008).

A highlight of the show will be Swallow’s watercolour, One Nation Underground (2007), recently acquired by the NGV. The work presents a collection of images based on 1960s musicians including Tim Buckley, Denny Doherty, Brian Jones and John Phillips.

Alex Baker, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV said the works in this exhibition explore the themes of life and death, time and its passing, mortality and immortality.

“Swallow’s art investigates how memory is distilled within the objects of daily life. His work addresses the fundamental issues that lie at the core of who we are, reminding us of our deep symbiotic relationship to the stuff of everyday life.”

“The exhibition’s title The Bricoleur refers to the kind of activities performed by a handyman or tinkerer, someone who makes creative use of whatever might be at hand. The Bricoleur is also the title of one of the sculptures in the exhibition, which depicts a forlorn houseplant with a sneaker wedged between its branches,” said Mr Baker.

Gerard Vaughan, Director, NGV, said this exhibition reinforces the NGV’s commitment to exhibiting and collecting world‐class contemporary art.

“The NGV has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Ricky Swallow, exhibiting and acquiring a number of his works over the years. His detailed and exquisitely crafted replicas of commonplace objects never fail to inspire visitors to the Gallery.”

Ricky Swallow was born in Victoria in 1974 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. His career has enjoyed a meteoric rise since winning the NGV’s prestigious Contempora5 art prize in 1999. Since then, Swallow has exhibited in the UK, Europe and the United States, and represented Australia at the 2005 Venice Biennale.”

Press release from the NGV website [Online] Cited 10/10/2009 no longer available online

 

Ricky Swallow facing the media behind his work 'Killing time' (2003 - 04)

Ricky Swallow facing the media behind his work 'Killing time' (2003 - 04)

 

Ricky Swallow facing the media behind his work Killing time (2003-2004)
Photos: Marcus Bunyan

 

 

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Federation Square
Corner of Russell and 
Flinders Streets, Melbourne

Opening hours:
Open daily 10am – 5pm

National Gallery of Victoria website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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