From Stella Rosa McDonald…
The Sceptical Image charts the power of the image in the making of the world, exploring the myths and legends of historical and cultural representation from UFO conspiracies and the incredible tale of Eliza Fraser to the current saga of Edward Snowden and the NSA. Throughout the show themes of observation and surveillance emerge as flawed strategies for deciphering truths as the eleven artists articulate their scepticism toward various forms of representation, in the process maintaining a critical distance toward their own modes of production.
The Sceptical Image privileges the imposter, the underdog and those in disguise. There are many crucial works in this show not the least of which is Anne Ferran‘s series Box of birds (2013). These performative photographs make a trilogy of her powerful 2003 works INSULA and 1-38, a series found and then cropped photographs of thirty-eight female psychiatric patients from a 1940s Sydney institution. In Box of Birds the thirty-eight women are re-imagined as felt shrouded birds made exotic by the fact that Ferran has invented a species name for each bird/woman and cast dancers in the roles. Installed in a grid, the series becomes archival and with each subject’s specificity lost beneath the folded cloth, the anonymous women are returned once again to the institutional index of the image.
Until August 30th
Sydney College of the Arts, Callan Park, Lilyfield
Pic: Merilyn Fairskye/Cherine Fahd, Untitled, 2014. Courtesy of the artists and Sydney College of the Arts.