CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT ROOM
MELBOURNE ART FAIR AUGUST 1 - 5 2012
The Centre for Contemporary Photography Project Room at Melbourne Art Fair 2012, featured recent works by Andrew Hazewinkel and Ross Coulter in response to different aspects of 'the collection'.
Hazewinkel's large shimmering spectral images created with aluminium and silver leaf on sandpaper respond to both the material fragility and subject matter of the 19th C. gelatin silver, glass plate photographic negatives, documenting Greek and Roman sculpture, that comprise the Marshall Collection held at the British School at Rome.
At the Centre for Contemporary Photography Project Room at the Melbourne Art Fair, CCP presents works from two recent projects by Melbourne based artists, Ross Coulter and Andrew Hazewinkel. Both respond to different aspects of ‘the collection’, following residencies at the State Library of Victoria [SLV] and the British School at Rome [BSR].
Coulter’s large-scale, epic photograph documents the aftermath of his Ten Thousand Paper Planes performance in the SLV’s Domed Reading Room in 2011, in which 165 people launched 10,000 paper planes in a choreographed event. Hazewinkel’s shimmering, ghostly images, created with aluminium and silver leaf on sandpaper, respond to the material fragility and subject matter of the 19th century gelatin silver, glass plate photographic negatives documenting antique sculpture that comprise the Marshall Collection at the BSR.
Bringing these two projects together allows us think about the nature of photography, and the nature of the collection, in an expanded way. Although very different in medium, style and execution, Coulter and Hazewinkel’s works nevertheless share many conceptual similarities and are intrinsically linked by their interest in the photograph as document.
Thousands of paper planes lie scattered across the floor, desks and chairs of the La Trobe Reading Room at Melbourne’s State Library of Victoria in Ross Coulter’s Aftermath (1) 2011. This luscious print is awe-inspiring in its detailed account of the majestic surroundings of the Reading Room, and authoritative in its single-point perspectival point of view. Without prior knowledge of the performance, our eye takes a few seconds to register the planes, and realise that a potentially subversive act must have taken place. In its role as documentation of a performance this photograph is, however, something of a remainder. As the title indicates, it depicts the aftermath of the event, rather than the event itself. In this, it holds a certain melancholy, making us yearn for the experience of the planes in flight, airborne and floating freely in this stately space of study and absorption. Aftermath (1) is also, therefore, a photographic portrait of gravity – an image that captures the final settling of ephemeral, floating objects onto surfaces after being released from the hands of those who have launched them.
In Hazewinkel’s Portraits of the Living and the Dead 2010-11, his recollection of antique sculpted heads photographically documented in the Marshall Collection converge with other faces encountered by the artist in the present – friends, strangers, passers by. These are created with the most fragile of materials, aluminium and silver leaf, upon a deep, shimmering universe created by vast sheets of fine black sandpaper, traditionally a sculptural tool. The faces have both density and lightness – in some works in the series they float upon the black void. In others they emerge, bit by bit, [feature by feature] from layer upon layer of metal leaf that the artist has painstakingly adhered to, then pulled away from, the sandpaper ground. Hazewinkel’s material reference points are consciously elemental here; his is a sculptural response to the raw elements of nineteenth century photographic documentation – gelatin silver, glass plate and, more broadly, its base elements of light against dark. Like Coulter’s, Hazewinkel’s work is also a reflection on gravity and weightlessness; conflating and confusing the heftiness of stone against the free-floating imagery of the photographic glass plate.
See CCP Declares: On The Nature Of Things exhibition here