One Night in Atlanta
Will be exhibited at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in 2018.
Three digital videos about one of the great human acts.
Represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney Australia
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Exhibited Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney 2015, Centre of Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Basil Hong Kong art fair 2016
Town Hall 11.5 min
Mona Lisa 6 min
Bondi 5.5 min
Three digital video art-works: Town Hall (eleven and a half minutes), Bondi (five and a half minutes) and Mona Lisa (six minutes). This trilogy was filmed outside the Town Hall in Sydney, beside the waters of the Pacific and in the Louvre in front of the Mona Lisa.
They are about an adventure of the spirit-waiting. I discover this subject in three different ways.
This is not the kind of waiting that has nothing else to do. It is the opposite of dreaming or passing time. Instead it is a positive cre-ative act. A decision. One that is essential in our relationship with ourselves-and to the world.
The form of the artworks is simple because reality is terrifyingly simple. I avoid the temptation to use special effects because I wish the viewer to experience the passing of moments in real time, as far as that is possible with digital video.
While making these works I was inspired by Emmanuel Levinas who puts it so well: 'In patience the will breaks through the crust of its egoism, and as it were displaces its centre of gravity outside of itself'.
We can feel how the act of waiting involves a momentary act of renunciation; hope and desire are there, as well as fortitude, as waiting gives the future a chance to emerge.
We are watching people in relation to something that cannot enter into the present; and I think especially in the work Mona Lisa we can actually feel that the present is too small for the infinite. In the scrum of seething bodies busily filming the painting or themselves with their cameras, we catch a glimpse of a person who is in a similar state to the Mona Lisa herself. Leonardo's highest aim, he said, was to 'depict the state of man's soul'. Not a momentary emotional state but man's inner life. As we watch I think we can feel that when waiting is a choice, a commitment, we are in contact with our souls. In a sense, these people stand unprotected. We feel the acceptance of 'not having'; a deference to the beyond, a drawing out of oneself towards a larger purpose. The works themselves are a triple waiting. The camera finds its subject and even though it becomes obscured or drifts out of frame, the camera holds patiently until it comes back into sight. And then, of course, the viewer is someone who waits.
These people are motionless, for the most part, yet a palpable state of suspension seems to exist in the emotional penumbra of the characters themselves. We are watching a serene act and yet we are on the edge of our seats. We become aware that each person is utterly unique and yet we are all, in a sense, like these people. And we come to love these people, strangers to us, who have decided to wait-for these are heroes prepared to honour the darkness.
I am most indebted to Sir Nicholas Serota without whose support it would have been difficult to make and complete these works. I am also very grateful to the kind donations from:
Sir Nicholas Serota, Spectrum Films, Andrew and Cathy Cameron, Michael Hobbs, Fiona Mowat and Doug Hall, Penelope Seidler, Laurence and Kathy Freedman, Michelle Belgiorno-Nettis, Jeremy Thomas, Judy Kaye, Rupert Myer, Laura Jones, Tim Olsen, Miranda Tobias, Meera Lawrence, Erica Drew, Roy Billing and Linda Tizard, Heather Whitely Robertson, Vessa Playfair, Vahan and Majella Bedrossian, Kester McKay, Justin Fleming, Andrew Kotatko, Sam Meers, Brenda Croft, Jean Kent
I am indebted to David Malouf
I wish to thank Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Thanks to Josh Pomeranz and Adam Scott at Spectrum Films and Olivier Fontenay Fiona Hall and John Wolseley
This project was supported by Creative Partnerships Australia through MATCH. Thanks to Matt Cox and Esther Gyorki
Videographer Paul Elliott
Editor Roland Gallois, ASE
Colourist Olivier Fontenay
Post-Production Facility Spectrum Films