Reinscribing Fictions Lynda Edridge
12.11.2010 - 05.12.2010
In this exhibition I present 16 images.
The source format is the postcard. Some of the postcards are old, going back almost 100 years, and others are sourced from contemporary museums and art galleries in France. The postcards represent two subjects: postcards of women and postcards of paintings by famous artists of the past such as Leonardo da Vinci, Peter Paul Rubens and Camille Corot.
On each postcard I have superimposed my own hand drawn or painted copy of an image of an Australian Aboriginal woman called Kilpriera.
Kilpriera was originally painted by a French artist artist on board the two ships sent by Napoleon to map the southern coastlines of Australia between 1801 and 1804. The artist, Nicolas-Martin Petit, died shortly after his return to France in 1804. Kilpriera’s image has been reproduced many times and she is variously described in documentation pertaining to description of life in the Sydney (Port Jackson) area in the early 1800s. Petit describes her simply as a ‘young woman of the Cammergal people’. However, a copy of the Petit image was made by an English sculptor artist, E Piper in 1803. On this image Kilpriera is described as ‘The sister of Calee but of a very different disposition being extremely savage and untameable’. She also makes an appearance in Watkin Tench’s ‘Complete Account of the Settlement of Port Jackson’: ‘[she] belonged to the tribe of Cameragal and rarely came among us ... she excelled in beauty all their females I ever saw: her age about 18 the firmness, the symmetry and the luxuriancy of her bosom might have tempted painting to copy its charms’.
The image of Kilpriera is extremely loaded in an Australian context. Many images of Aboriginal people painted at around the time Petit painted this image were caricatures, grotesques, often representing more animalesque than humanesque features. However, this picture of Kilpriera is particularly realistic and seemingly empathetic. She is beautiful and seems proud, perhaps a little resistant to the situation of being model to an artist.
Over the past 200 years, Petit’s image of Kilpriera has been variously reproduced in books and exhibited in libraries, museums and art galleries. Most recently, in 2006 she was exhibited at the Museé du quai Branly’s inaugural exhibition entitled ‘Regarding the Other’.
Here I have reworked the postcard images then scanned them into Photoshop where some limited manipulation such as cutting, cropping and resizing occurs. The final images are then printed onto transparent perspex. Each image exists in its final printed perspex format as an edition of five. These images hover somewhere between drawing, painting and printmaking.
In producing this body of work I am primarily interested in exploring notions of the reproduction and manipulation of the image, the layering of meaning on image and vice versa. In reproducing of the human face and form, a multitudinous range of meanings can occur with each reproduction. We, the viewers of images, are manipulated into positions of reinterpretation according to the maker and/or exhibitor of the image and according to our own experiences and knowledge.
As an artist I present you with the outlines of fictions, both of my own and of the preconceived and ancient fictions concerning the images of women. As a viewer you are free to imagine and conceive your own stories.
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