Adelaide Art Photographers 1970-2000

Finally. 

This limited edition book----the background is  here---- goes to the printers (Openbook Howden) on Monday,  25th November.  The three  people who have worked on this book throughout  2019 ---Adam and Michal Dutkiewicz and myself-- made the final corrections to the preview copy on Friday  at Dulwich in Adelaide.  Hopefully, Openbook Howden  will be able to print the book by mid-December, just in  time for  Xmas It's official  launch will be at an exhibition at the RSASA in March 2020. 

It has been a major effort to recover some of  the art photography in Adelaide from this period,  to  then organise  the diversity of this work  into an art history book that looks and feels good in the hand,  and to write an essay on the aesthetics of medium specific modernism and its postmodern negation. It is an about an  art photography during the 1970-2000 period that was made in a provincial region outside the Euro-American centres, as well as  the major Australian cultural centres in Melbourne and Sydney--it's a critical regionalism, if you like,   structured around the the classic dichotomy between centre and periphery.    

This is a partial art historical text  with critical intent, and it is the second volume in the Moon Arrow Press photography  series, the first being  the Abstract Photography one that was published in 2017.  Both books help to give a sense that there was an  autonomous art photography tradition in Adelaide in the late twentieth century, as well as to give some indication of its regional breadth and depth prior to the internationalisation of Australian art after 2000. What emerged after 2000 was an unthinking acceptance that whatever appeared in the top-end galleries and auction houses in the major western (Euro-American) metropolitan cultural centres represented contemporary art. 

aboriginal presence at Encounter Bay

I've started  to research what happened to the Ramindjeri people, the traditional owners of the land,  after the conquest of their lands and British settlement of  the Fleurieu Peninsula. The settler history is a narrative of  from pioneer port to seaside resort' and this narrative is premised on the the ‘great Australian silence’ in regard to Indigenous people and their history. 

The research is  for the second historical  part of Fleurieuscapes project.  The art historical context of the project is that Australian arts practice abandoned the landscape in the 1960’s at the end of Modernism, the last major figures being Williams, Nolan and Olsen as arts practice entered post modernity and deconstruction. Whilst there are notable exceptions (Storrier, Robinson etc.), landscape representation was left to Aboriginal peoples as Aboriginal painting emerged from the deserts of Central Australia. 

The second  part of the Fleuriescapes project looks at the  significant  historical sites of the Fleurieu Peninsula from the vantage point  of the traditional owners (both the Ramindjeri and the Ngarrindjeri) in  a post-colonial Australia. This history is one where many of the traditional people living on the Fleurieu Peninsula and along the Corrong  were massacred. Those who survived had the power to govern their lives removed, as well as their connections to the land and the space, and as well as their language to articulate their view of what had happened to them. 

The picture below is of the site of an old sealing/whaling station at Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor  that preceded British settlement. The contact  is circa 1830's,  and one of the prime reason  for the Europeans to make contact with aboriginal people was to seek women. Eventually,  some of the Ramindjeri men and women  worked as harpooners and whale spotters. 

 There was another  sealing/whaling station at  Granite Island in Victor Harbor  Many of the Ramindjeri people succumbed to the small pox epidemic which swept the area in the 1830s and then to general disease.  In 1872 the whaling industry, which had started on Kangaroo Island around 1806,  and which produced whale oil  and bones for export,  closed down due to a lack of Southern Right whales.