This winter the center celebrates 30 years of exhibition at ACP. To mark the occasion they are staging Zeitgeist, a spectacular exhibition of new work by Australian photomedia artists selected by eleven collectors, critics and curators around Australia. Each selector was invited to nominate an artist they tip as an important future player in the cultural life of this country. The result is a stimulating, eclectic and at times challenging mix of media and ideas - from fine prints to plasma screens; from anti-war protesters to drag kings.
The work in this exhibition is diverse. Rachael Cassells spent two years in East New York documenting the lives of a group of young men who have grown up in a culture of violence, often battling alcoholism, crack addiction, gun violence, police brutality and incarceration. In the dim light of decrepit housing-project apartments, she achieves an unexpected peace in her photographs of three brothers. In marked contrast are portraits recently made by Selina Ou on the Gold Coast. Drenched in bright Australian light, these people are worshippers of the sun, surf and sand. The images are typical of Ou‚s style, reflecting contemporary culture: people at work and play are documented in rich saturated colours, perfectly printed.
Tyrone Knights reveals his interaction with the environment through considered 'haphazard' clusters of images that illustrate his connection with the world around him. This documentation of the people he meets, juxtaposed with the places he has been, carves out his path and allows us a glimpse into his world.
Political comment is found in the work of Silvia Vélez, who has created an installation consisting of thousands of 'Post-it' notes printed with digital drawings made from photographs of crowds united in their protests against the imminent invasion of Iraq by the USA and its allies in 2003.
The Kingpins return to an old haunt, the local shopping mall. Using the familiar format of the video clip and characters inspired by Homer‚s Odyssey, they sing along to that celebrated suburban anthem Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again. Meanwhile, Grant Stevens plays tracks from his parents‚ record collection; as a teenager he rebelled by listening to this music rather than the grunge popular at the time. In his installation, Dazed and Praised, classic 70's rock songs play over excerpts from a 90‚s skater documentary, creating a dialogue across the generation gap.
Irene Torres makes her work from found photographs, a representation of history and the experience of the 'other' in relation to her own. Utilising a range of media including paint, charcoal, pencil and scratching into the surface of the print, she isolates figures in an abstract landscape. David Thomas also puts paint onto photographs, applying large blocks of colour and almost obliterating the image. In this way, the viewer sees their own outline in the reflective surface of the paint. Bronwyn Wright is showing images with an altered surface as well. She discovered a packet of her photographs in a pool of dirty water following the Darwin wet season. She was delighted to discover that the deterioration of the images by the water mirrored the natural process of the breakdown of the rusted burnt out cars in the swamp that the original photographs had documented.
Well known for his video work, Shaun Gladwell offers a compelling series of still photographs for this exhibition. In this on-going series he has documented police forces from around the world. Gladwell is interested in how the presence of authority and a uniform can change our reading and experience of a space.
Rebecca Ann Hobbs