Decookolisation | Work

Art Life , Media May 05, 2015 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Most of us are familiar with images of Captain James Cook, ranging from the eighteenth century depictions by John Webber and Nathaniel Dance to more recent work of contemporary artists like Jason Wing, Daniel Boyd and Ben Quilty. In his new exhibition of photographs, James Tylor uses daguerreotype and wet plate photographic methods to investigate places in the South Pacific region named after the famous British sailor and explorer. Tylor’s intentional use of appropriated images reworked with older style technologies put the established narrative of Cook as hero and ‘discoverer’ of places like Mt Cook, The Cook Strait and The Cook River under question. Retitled with their Indigenous names, new light is thrown on the ethics of declaring ownership of such territories.

Tylor_Te Aoraki- Aotearoa (Mount Cook- New Zealand) 2015 Becquerel Daguerreotype-4x5 inch

Meanwhile, in a series of four new performance videos presented in Work, Thai Australian artist Kawita Vatanajyankur continues to tread a fine line between visual pleasure and pain. Set in a fantastical fruit market against brightly coloured pink, lime and blue backgrounds, Vatanajyankur’s exploration of female labour sees her assume precarious roles ranging from the banana-weighing aerial gauge in The Scales to dual parts as gripper and juicer in Squeezers. Helplessly enticed by Vatanajyankur’s persuasive aesthetic and agonising antics, these hooks steer the viewer toward the artist’s more sober intent.

Until June 6
Stills Gallery, Paddington
Pic: James Tylor, Te Aoraki-Aotearoa (Mount Cook, New Zealand) 2015, Becquerel Daguerreotype 10 x 12.7cm, edition of unique. Courtesy the artist and Stills Gallery.

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Sharne Wolff

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