February 20 - May 2, 2010
As part of the Perth International Arts Festival 2010, the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery presented Ricky Maynard: Portrait of a Distant Land and Aernout Mik: touch, rise and fall.
Ricky Maynard: Portrait of a Distant Land is a major survey of photographic works by documentary photographer Ricky Maynard, encompassing more than two decades of the artist’s practice.
Portrait of a Distant Land, being toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Sydney, features more than 60 evocative and captivating photographic works, drawn from six bodies of work, which document the lives and culture of Maynard’s people, the Ben Lomond and Cape Portland peoples of Tasmania.
Born in Launceston, Tasmania in 1953 Maynard is a self-taught documentary photographer now based on Flinders Island in the Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia.
Maynard first came to prominence in the late 1980s with a photographic essay about Aboriginal mutton bird farmers and he has continued to document physical and social landscapes which form a visual record and representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia.
“For me, photographs have always been personal and I hope to convey the intimacy of a diary. Photography has the ability to tell stories about the world and how the photograph has power to frame a culture,” said Maynard.
The works presented in Portrait of a Distant Land survey a broad range of themes and issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. It includes photographs which document sites significant to Maynard’s people: ranging from serenely beautiful landscapes which follow the song lines, tribal movements and historical displacement routes of his ancestors, to the confrontational and emotionally-charged images of Indigenous people incarcerated in the South Australian prison system.
Ricky Maynard: Portrait of a Distant Land is organised and toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia. The exhibition has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts’ New Australian Stories Initiative.
Aernout Mik: touch, rise and fall is a two-channel video installation by Dutch artist Aernout Mik, that examines the operations occurring in and around an airport security check point.
touch, rise, and fall, focuses on the social space of airports: lounges, terminals, employee offices, duty-free shops, and airport security areas. The people that occupy the space of the video engage in the mundane activities associated with airports – distraught and fatigued passengers wait in line, endure searches of oddly stuffed plastic bags of goods and at times even have their bags torn apart.
Casting an intimate eye on airport life this installation displays the continuous cycle of degrading and upgrading of goods and people. Images of individuals shopping are juxtaposed with meticulous luggage searches, while fatigued passengers in the waiting areas are contrasted with rowdy security staff on their break. A sense of helplessness, desperation and claustrophobia, as well as the dwindling of authoritarian control, looms over this scene.
touch, rise and fall explores issues such as privacy, tedium, submission and the nature of authority. The images provoke a startling empathy as they offer insight into the communal phenomenon of modern travel and the vagaries of time.
Aernout Mik describes his work as a combination of sculpture, architecture, video and performance. His psueudo-documentaries, while staged, appear authentic and convincing.
For educators wanting to refer to the exhibition a small printable overview is provided for you: