State of the Arts

Comings and Goings
By Jo Higgins


28 February 2006

When Mental as Anything penned their ironic 1982 ballad If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too? it’s unlikely they imagined it forming the inspiration for a visual post-modern consideration on disconnection, rejection and alienation at the Australian Centre for Photography. Far from a Best Hits of the '80s type homage, ACP curator Bec Dean has taken the ballad’s melancholic title as an entry point into exploring the photomedia practices of some of Australia’s best known and most interesting artists whose works consider everything from the notion of personal failure to environmental disconnection and the plight of the smoker in the smoke-free corporate world.

A droll sense of despair and social disengagement characterises much of the work in If You Leave Me. Elvis Richardson’s photographic work is drawn from an extensive archive of displaced, forgotten and unwanted snaps that have been collected from second hand stores and auctions. Mining these abandoned personal archives, Richardson, who is also an Associate lecturer in Multi Media at the University of Canberra, re-imagines these images into arrangements of ‘orphaned moments’ no longer treasured by their original keepers.

Works from Lyndal Walker’s Stay Young series will also be on display. With an interest in the subcultures of adolescence and the unglamorous settings for teenage reality, Walker shuns the idea of ‘eternal youth’ by turning her camera on a series of young men in various domestic settings including bedrooms and backyards.

Ian Tippett’s street-level photographs are an almost documentary-like examination of the solitary office smokers, relegated to doorways, alleys and discrete corners. Tippett’s photographs cast these maligned social pariahs as pathetic creatures on the corporate, urban landscape.

Also investigating the spatial relationships and faceless entities of the urban landscape, Natasha Johns-Messenger takes macro photographs of dioramas that explore body language and our interactions with the space around us.

Other artists in the exhibition include Simon Cuthbert, Kate McMillan, Greta Anderson, Boris + Natasha and the Raquel Ormella/Regina Walter team FLAPS.

On Saturday 4 March at 1pm there will be a free floor talk with curator Bec Dean and several of the artists.

- Jo Higgins
More Information:

If You Leave Me Can I Come Too?
3 March – 9 April
Australian Centre for Photography
257 Oxford St Paddington
Open Tues – Sun: 11am to 6pm
Entry Free
More info: 02 9332 1455