The Lost Girls.

Never Grow Old.Never Die.

Five photographic artists look at how popular imagery can be used to reinterpret the viewers’ relationship to the world around them. With a focus on narrative, each artist explores how personal anxieties and desires can be both strengthened and lessened through popular culture, using the visual language of advertising, film, trash magazines and pulp fiction.

Art Exhibition previously on at Seventh Gallery in Fitzroy-Collingwood precinct, Victoria, Australia.
From Tuesday 30 October 2007 to Saturday 10 November 2007

Plasticity image

Published by anonymous on Tuesday 16 October 2007.
Contact the publisher.

Artists: Lorraine Heller-Nicholas, Saskia Pandji Sakti, Tatjana Plitt, Katherine Soutar and Liz Walker.

Kat Soutar looks at childhood expectations of a romanticised adulthood. Turning 30 you look back. You look at what you’ve done and what you thought you once wanted. What happens if this still remains unfulfilled, even if by choice? Advertising, like age milestones, feed on our insecurities, desires and expectations. With humour, Kat looks at these issues in her series of faux advertisements. Advertising works off collective desires. Desires that create imaginary narratives and “a world of possibility.” Using the platform of lifestyle and fashion magazines, the subjects in the images have been branded and sold back their expectations and desires in a consumable form.

Lorraine Heller-Nicholas looks to the star system, movies and mass media to create a web of love, romance and horror. Famous couples that have crumbled. The narrative of their romance played out in the pages of teen and trash mags. Where movie character couples risk everything. Death does not even stop them. From OJ Simpson to Loreena Bobbitt, these crimes of passion capture the imagination. Through a series of small nostalgically printed portraits (a mix of photography, printmaking, transfer processes and digital imagery) these narratives play out again, but here exists a contrast between famous couples, both real and movie characters, that could not be sustained. Couples that have taken it one step further and resulted in a crime of passion where “death do us part” is taken a bit too literally.

Saskia Pandji Sakti looks at the fabrication of a new reality, in an effort to blur the boundaries between the fantastic world that film provokes and the concrete reality the viewer inhabits; creating a suspended reality wherein the familiar formula of popular/cult film narrative and that of our own personal and collective fictions intertwine. The images are a depiction of a posing threat, a threat that lies beyond the visual field, reminiscent of those employed in teen horror films. The photographs attempt to capture the moment in which emotion arises on behalf of the subject pictured, exploring the interplay (of narrative, of fantasy and reality) between the viewer and the subject within a juxtaposition of images. The work explores the relationship between the landscape and the individual, of enclosure and escape, and fundamentally, interior and exterior states of existence.

Tatjana Plitt will present a series of photographs exploring the nexus between romantic love, utopian aesthetics and anxiety within contemporary Australia. The subjects in the images are real couples, whose everyday environments are used as props to recreate the fantastical ‘Mills and Boon’ aesthetic. Simultaneously, a grittier ‘amateur porn’ aesthetic creeps through, hinting at tension between utopian and dystopian desires. Popular romance novels address real problems and tensions in their reader’s lives, functioning as a site for the provocation and neutralisation of anxieties fears and desires. Blaze weaves a contemporary Australian narrative, with it’s very real issues and mass-produced anxieties, into the world of Mills and Boon…so that the mundane, ominous and ridiculous collide, leaving the viewer to negotiate the slippery territory between the dream and the real.

Liz Walker’s body of work Plasticity investigates the narratives within Western popular consumer culture of female sexuality. The trend to alter appearance (through body modification for example) and/or constructing behavioural patterns in accordance with what society determines is sexually attractive and desirable. With the rise of porn-stars to the mainstream, the increasing popularity of pole-dancing lessons, and the success of pseudo ‘post-feminist’, ‘alternative’, ‘female liberation’ acts like the Suicide Girls – whose show is completely based on male ideologies of female sexuality – it’s no wonder Plastic Sexuality has become so prominent. And so intensified are the commercial interests that feed this contemporary mode of sexuality that many women end up feeling inadequate. The many narratives presented in the large locker image are designed to communicate a sense of entrapment within the confines of Plastic Sexuality, while contrasting with the boldness and humor created through reinterpretation.

Each of these artists present a spin on popular narratives, through the photographic/digital medium which is so dominant in contemporary culture. Narrative is a driving force in contemporary art photography, and here it is taken on as the subject itself. Using the visual language of advertising, film, trash magazines and pulp fiction book covers, the group take a look from within to comment on their own pop cultural world. It is as part of this culture that the exhibition would speak and as such there is a mix of complement and criticism.


Seventh Gallery
155 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12-6pm