Picture words : toward an art-critical methodology
conference contributionposted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by J McArdle
“Phiction: Lies, Illusion and the Phantasm in Australian Photography” is a curatorial experiment in assembling a survey exhibition from a significant collection. Its formulation, presentation and the outcomes of its tour of eleven regional and metropolitan Victorian galleries provide a case study for this paper. The exhibition Phiction (the title amalgamates photography and fiction) challenges audiences’ reading of photographs, and confronts some curatorial assumptions, by juxtaposing the images with extracts of Australian fiction instead of the usual gallery fact sheet, list of provenance or expert gloss. In this way the exhibition forces a confrontation between ‘dumb’ image and ‘blind’ text and while examples are examined, a review of the exhibition is not the purpose of this paper. A consideration its process and effect is discussed in the paper to propose a comparative tool in the study, investigation and evaluation of art. It is offered to visual art school researchers, lecturers and students contemplating the most appropriate and effective, or alternative, methodologies to employ. With reference to the dominant systems of critique which have come to us from other disciplines, the paper considers the art practitioner’s perspective by drawing on the example of Phiction to pose the open question; “How might we use one artform to explore another?”.