Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
30 Aug 2007 to 28 Jan 2008
This selection of works from the MCA Collection was presented alongside the artist’s solo exhibition Julie Rrap: Body Double, curated by Victoria Lynn.
‘This selection was framed by fairly broad principles that relate to interests in my own practice over the last 25 years. However, one image in particular, Arnulf Rainer’s Face–farce (1971), resonates as a pivotal work for my other choices.
Figuration created through ironic and conceptual gestures, as opposed to the purely expressive, has always interested me. I think this is because photography, as a critical tool in my visual thinking, has always made the relationship between subjective and objective observation problematic.
One of my earliest influences in this regard was the work of the Austrian artist Arnulf Rainer, whose self-portrait work Face–farce was recorded photographically by an assistant while the artist was under the influence of the drug mescalin, rendering him psychologically ‘absent’ from the process. In revisiting these images of himself, Rainer attempted to use this photographic ‘proof’ as a trigger to recreate his memory of the event by drawing and painting on the surface of the image. This gesture exposed the disjunction between the ‘objective’ eye of the camera and the ‘subjective’ interpretation of the artist/viewer. His mark-making on the surface of the image was an attempt to expressively reach across this void between image, sensation and memory.
In this work, what we are confronted by is a ‘double’ space; one emotional and unguarded, the other a more considered and constructed response.
Of course all great art works have multiple impacts on our senses, but in combining the camera with the handmade, the tension between the direct and indirect gesture become more apparent.
In choosing Rainer’s image to articulate this tension, I have tried to consider this selection of works in dialogue with Rainer’s proposition. Some works use drawing as photo-realism, while others construct photographs as masquerades. Some appear to exist purely as expressive gesture, while others mask the subjective with irony.’