CONTEMPORARY AUSTRALIAN PHOTOGRAPHY SINCE 1980
Dr Anne Marsh
Wednesday 24 August 6.00pm
The University of Queensland Art Museum
The period 1980 to the present represents one of the most dynamic times for art photography. Over this period photography comes of age in the art world. No longer the poor cousin of the fine arts, photography entered the galleries and the market with a kind of swagger never before seen in the history of art. It is the medium that embraces late twentieth and twenty-first century ideas: it is reproducible, democratic and easily distributed. It breaks with the established high art traditions of taste – it takes art off its pedestal and speaks widely to an audience already familiar with popular cinema. These photographs compete with paintings in scale and they fascinate a public hungry for pictures that speak of the complexities of life in a medium that is sophisticated but familiar.
In this lecture Anne Marsh will introduce a range of practices, themes and issues that have arisen in the world of art photography over the last thirty years. Drawing on her recently published book – Look: Contemporary Australian Photography since 1980 – Anne will consider the critical and curatorial agendas which intersect with practice and look at the ways that artists themselves engaged with particular issues and themes. The dialogue between conceptual art and documentary, the discourse on the gaze, the would-be predatory character of the photographer, and the interrogation of identities of race, gender and place will be considered. Anne will conclude with some comments on recent debates about the medium in a digital world and showcase the archival website that accompanies the book.
Dr Anne Marsh is Professor of Theory and Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Art and Design, Monash University. Her most recent book Look: Contemporary Australian Photography since 1980 was launched in December 2010. She is author of Pat Brassington: This is Not a Photograph (2006), The Darkroom: Photography and the Theatre of Desire (2003) and Body and Self: Performance Art in Australia, 1969–1992 (1993). She has received two Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grants as solo Chief Investigator: Contemporary Australian Photography (2005–2008) and Remediation: Performance Art and Video Performance (2009–2011). The latest ARC Discovery grant includes the building of an on-line video archive in collaboration with Matthew Perkins and Elena Galiberti – The Australian Video Art Archive www.videoartchive.org.au. Anne is Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage project Photography as a Crime (2009–2012), which investigates photography in public space (with Daniel Palmer, Melissa Miles, Mark Davison and the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne). Anne is also a contributing editor for Eyeline: Contemporary Visual Arts and publishes regularly in the arts press.