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Simryn Gill

Caress (Lemain Deluxe 850 TR)  2008

graphite rubbing on paper

frame 109 × 72 × 4cm

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2010

2010.42.1

About the Artwork

The three works of Caress are the traces of typewriters – made by placing sheets of paper over the machines and rubbing them with graphite.  These works are part of a wider series of seven typewriter rubbings made from vintage typewriters that the artist has collected over time – an Olivetti Studio 46, a Lemain Deluxe 850 TR and an Underwood Universal – all superseded by the advent of electric models and then computer technology. The typewriter is a hand-operated machine for making ink notations on paper: an active, and in some hands, expressive tool. Here, Gill has made the machine passive – the marks on paper are of the machine rather than by the machine. The rubbings are like death masks of each typewriter, a final tribute to their passing in the electronic age.

Gill has a diverse art practice, including making photographs, sculptures and collections, and writing and drawing. She is interested in ideas of obsolescence – the archaic idea of the typewriter which has been replaced by the computer today; and the typewritten page itself, which is superseded by current printing technology and liable to literally fade with time. In other works she has documented landscapes and dwellings that are in states of decline and decay.

Simryn Gill

– About the artist

Born 1959, Singapore. Lives and works Sydney and Port Dickson, Malaysia.


Simryn Gill has a diverse art practice, including making photographs, sculptures and collections, writing and drawing. Her work has been seen in several solo and group exhibitions including Hugging the Shore, NTU Center for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2015); Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); Here art grows on trees, Australian Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale, Venice (2013); Lasting Images, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013); 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel (2012); Untitled: 12th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2011); Simryn Gill: Inland, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2009); Simryn Gill: Gathering, MCA, Sydney (2008); dOCUMENTA 12, Kassel (2007).

Gill is represented in the collections of, among others, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; M+, Hong Kong; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery, Singapore; Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Collection, London; and a number of private collections.

Learn more
– Other collection works by the artist

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