37° Sur a 19° Norte: Fotografía contemporánea de Australia
Armstrong, D. 2015, 37° Sur a 19° Norte: Fotografía contemporánea de Australia, Museo de la Ciudad de Cuernavaca. (The City of Cuernavaca Museum) at José María Morelos y Pavón 263, Cuernavaca Centro, 62000 Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, 24 Sep. - 25 Oct. 2015, José María Morelos y Pavón 263, Cuernavaca Centro, 62000 Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, Museo de la Ciudad de Cuernavaca. (The City of Cuernavaca Museum).
37° Sur a 19° Norte: Fotografía contemporánea de Australia
37 ° South to 19 ° North : Contemporary Photography Australia
Curatorial considerations, aims and objectives:The title for this exhibition (37 ° South to 19 ° North) refers to the Latitude of Melbourne, Australia and Cuernavaca, Mexico.My curatorial objective for making such a reference to the geographical was to invoke a sense of both distance and connection between the two locations of Australia and Mexico and to also create a sense of sharing, not only between our distant landscapes and cultures but also between the feelings and emotions that we all experience in response to the places in which we live out the moments which make up our daily lives.In developing this project I considered the work of more than 35 contemporary Australian photographers and finally selected 15 photographers (including myself). Most of these artists have or have had close connection to Melbourne and to the southern/eastern line of Australian continent. The final selection ranged from Hobart to Maroochydore and one artist who had lived in Melbourne for many years but was now living in Mexico. These photographers (and the specific works) were selected because their long term creative practice captures a sense of location (place and space) with a deep introspective sensibility which I feel offers a viewer a personal and softly spoken vision of some particular aspect of an Australian location, be that exterior landscape or interior place and a sense of unique connection to such places. These images are not documents but rather representations of feelings, stories, memories and dreams which emerge in the milieu of our inhabitants.In selecting the works, careful consideration was also given to diversity of approaches to photographic practice in conjunction to thematic content. Formats and media included black and white, pin hole photography, toy camera, large format (both 4” x 5” and 10”x 8”), phone camera, various digital camera images and other experimental approaches. The local art scene in Cuernavaca is very strong and there is a strong interest in photography. This is partially due to the number of local arts schools and universities which offer studies in photography as well as the political dimension regarding Mexican art in general - as a tool of both political media, reportage and documentary work, photography is a significant medium for many of the people who would be visiting the exhibition. I therefore felt it was important to address the diversity of approaches to the medium which are currently being explored by Australian practitioners.The City Museum of Cuernavaca provided two large walls and some smaller sections of side walls on both the grounds level and the upper level of the main museum galleries for exhibition.The works were arranged with a simple thematic structure. Top level, left to right, then bottom level, left to right starting with images which presented a sense of wilderness and landscape (which were also quite abstract and reductive) to more representational landscape images moving to landscape with small figures (people) emerging within the images (Ash Kerr) to landscapes with larger figures and the emerging presence of man-made elements to urban landscapes and then to interior urban scapes and finally to interior locations with people and finally finishing on the metaphorical image by Harry Nankin of Bogong Moths and the politics of climate change. (It is also interesting to note that the migration path of the Bongong moth matches well the distribution of the artists selected for this project)Broadly speaking the images started outside with broad landscape to intimate interior locations. With these works a great deal of personal content from each photographer was presented. Most artists chose to present 3 large format images while some only presented 2 images. Other graphic and visual elements were considered in the final placement of the images.It must also be noted that the artists selected ranged broadly from very highly established and significant local artists to mid-career/younger establishing artist to some lesser known and emerging artists. From a curatorial perspective I feel this is offers the possibility of what I shall term, a more balanced representation of the local Australian practice and it provides a context in which both established and emerging artists / works must engage on a dialogue, within the exhibition. I believe it also placing the curatorial premise on the strength of the work rather than on whom the artists are and their status. It also supports the younger emerging artists and provides a less formal and predictable outcome for the established artists and for as a collective presentation as a whole.
A catalogue with introduction to the exhibition in Spanish as list of artists and artists statements was provided at the exhibition as well as a separate set of artists CV and links to websites. I gave several public and education talks during the exhibition period. The exhibition opening night was very well attended and the exhibition was opened by the Mayor of Cuernavaca, Jorge Morales, who had a strong interested in cultural connection and in Australia. Media coverage was also strong, I have included several news paper articles and there was also local and state radio coverage about the exhibition.
Field of Research
190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
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