LIST OF WORKS: ‘Looking Out, Looking In’
‘Looking Out, Looking In: Exploring the Self-Portrait’
‘Looking Out, Looking In: Exploring the Self-Portrait’ locates the self-portrait as a dynamic and long-standing artistic tradition responsive to larger societal phenomena, and intrinsically linked to the human desire to picture and comprehend ourselves. The exhibition includes works from across the Collection arranged around several themes.
‘Strike a pose’ presents artworks made in the first decades of the twentieth century, in which the artists assume the posture of the ‘Grand Manner’ or ‘swagger’ portrait, alongside Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura’s contemporary parody Doublonnage (Marcel) 1988, which riffs on art history and disrupts norms around gender and race.
The artists included in ‘Altered states’ scrutinise the variability of the self-image, whether through masking or distortion, while those included in ‘In the flesh’ examine their bodies as sites of self-assertion, empowerment, or experimentation.
‘The composite self’ examines the multidimensional nature of identity, and the concept that our sense of self is informed by numerous influences, including our social circles and familial ties. For example, Vincent Namatjira’s double portrait pays homage to his late great-grandfather, the renowned Arrernte watercolourist Albert Namatjira.
‘Role play’ includes artworks that challenge the notion of individuality, and the idea that a self-portrait can somehow reveal a unique and cohesive identity. Luke Roberts’s photograph At the Bar of the Pub with No Beer 2009, for example, is part of an ongoing series that has seen the Queensland artist adopt a variety of guises through stance and dress.
These main themes are augmented by groups of works in which the artist has captured themself in profile; photographs that consider the form’s documentary value and play on the relationship between camera and photographer; and non-representational artworks by the late John Nixon, who framed much of his practice in terms of the self-portrait. Nixon engaged with the genre not through representation but by focussing on a self-defined set of methods and materials.