‘The camera doesn’t do anything by itself – photographs show what people look at and reveal their inner agenda.’ (Thomas Struth, German photographer, 2011)
ACT-based photo media artist Cathy Laudenbach is no stranger to the NT having previously been a lecturer at Charles Darwin University and developed projects within the NT (including series such Alone on the Stuart Highway. Looking for Peter Falconio, and Roadhouses). Her latest exhibition, Landscapes of Desire, for NCCA's Gallery 1, takes China, Austria, and tourism as its subjects through her focus on the 5th century UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Hallstatt, Austria, and its constructed tourist-destination copy in Louyang, Boluo County, central China. ‘The world is not the lonely planet it was’, writes Laudenbach, ‘and we don’t need a guidebook to navigate’. Through her photographs of tourists in the act of photographing, at the ‘real’ Hallstatt and its copy-town, Laudenbach examines how the tourist experience of a place is mediated and, more broadly, how we image/imagine the world today.
Cathy Laudenbach has exhibited widely in Australia including in major public photography galleries such as the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, and the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney. Her work has also been exhibited internationally in Japan, Germany and New Zealand. A winner of the prestigious Olive Cotton Portrait Prize in 2000, Laudenbach has a Master of Visual Arts from the ANU School of Art, Canberra, and she is a current PhD student at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Australian National Library, Bathurst Regional Gallery, The Tweed River Gallery, and the Canberra Museum and Gallery.
image courtesy the artist
In Gallery 2, Sometimes, Something will be a site-specific installation incorporating elements of mural painting, sculpture, and paintings in still life and portraiture. Sadat’s painting style references Indonesian traditions of decorative mural painting in which everyday subjects such as farm animals and edible plants are depicted, ‘reminding us’, states Sadat, ‘of the value of these things as giving life’. Similarly, Sadat’s work concerns itself with issues of consumption and ecological (im)balance, from the point of view of a (Jogja) city dweller and with a nod to a simple, sustainable life.
Sadat Laope is an early-career artist from Sulawesi and based in Jogyakarta, central Java, Indonesia. A graduate of the Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI, Jogjakarta, in 2007) with a major in printmaking, Sadat has held solo exhibitions at prominent Jogja art venues such as Kedai Kebun Forum, Indonesian Visual art Archive (IVAA), and the Jogja National Museum. He maintains a diverse practice through mediums including woodblock printing, drawing, painting, zine-making/artists books, and performance art. He is an active a member of the Jogja performance art group Performance Klub.
The Screen Room shows Romaine Moreton’s Ragtag (2014) film which documents a demonstration by Moreton and fellow artists/activists at the (then) new fountain sculpture at Echo Point, Katoomba, at the ‘Three Sisters’ Blue Mountains tourist site (NSW). While the demonstration is relatively simple and clear in its intention, the resulting film, as a mediated performance, makes for a raw, compelling and somewhat less clear-cut portrayal of the collision and very performance of culture(s): Aboriginal, tourist, art-activist, national, and communal. Since the artist’s Ragtag experiment/intervention, the sculpture has been removed from public display.
Romaine Moreton is a celebrated writer, filmmaker and performance poet with a PhD in Philosophy. She hails from the Goernpil people of Stradbroke Island and the Bundjulung people of northern New South Wales. She has directed two award-winning short films (The Farm, 2011), and The Oysterman (2013), and is currently developing a new feature film. She has shown her work at the Cannes Film Festival (1999), and she was represented at the last documenta (13), Germany (2011), through the publication of her anthology Poems from a Homeland. Moreton is currently a Research Fellow/Filmmaker in Residence in the School of Media, Film, and Journalism at Monash University, Melbourne.
photo © Amanda James