Friday, 29 June 2012

Exhibition Detail | Warwick Baker

"Rali is a Kurdish asylum seeker from Iraq who has been living in Melbourne’s West since his arrival in Australia by boat in 2009.  Rali’s two applications for permanent residency have been unsuccessful. He is unable to return to his home because it is deemed unsafe to do so. He is fully engaged in the community — a budding filmmaker and volunteer worker in the western suburbs of Footscray and Sunshine to aid other asylum seekers — but he is unable to gain legal employment due to his visa restrictions." - Warwick Baker

Warwick Baker completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 2007. He has been a finalist in the National Youth Self Portrait Prize and The National Photographic Portrait Prize. Baker’s photographic series After the flood was published in Hijacked III: Contemporary photography from Australia and the United Kingdom. He has exhibited extensively in Australia and recently received an Arts Victoria grant for his project Belanglo: An Australian Badland. Baker is represented by Lindberg Galleries in Melbourne

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Exhibition Detail | Kristian Haggblom 

Photographed by Robert Haggblom in 1976 and printed from his archive by Kristian Haggblom. 

Initially I thought this was a fairly straightforward idea that would produce a series of interesting photographs and a set of concepts about a particular place by a group of artists I respect. I was wrong. I began this project by driving and walking extensively around the mouth of the river where it drains into the ocean in Altona and at the source of the creek in Sunbury where there is really not much to be found. Much of this I did with my father who often accompanies me on shooting adventures. My father has lived and worked in the western suburbs all of his life since arriving from Finland when he was young. After a day of shooting I asked him if he had any negs in his archive of the creek or even my brother and I playing along the banks. My father began teaching photography and art at St. Albans Tech the year I was born. What he found was a roll of 120 film from the first year of him teaching that documents the school boys running a marathon and in the back paddocks and jumping “shit creek”. This location is now part of the urban sprawl and located near Carolyn Springs. In the initial statement for this project I reflected that it “raises questions about authenticity, originality and the creation of place”. While this work is obviously an ode to my father for his support, it also addresses those initial concepts that are so important to photography. 

After graduating from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1997, Kristian Haggblom won the Documentary Award at the Centre for Contemporary Photography and had his first solo exhibition. Bored in Melbourne, he then moved to Japan where he lived for seven years. He has exhibited in Australia, Japan, America and Switzerland. He is presently a PhD candidate through Monash University and curator of Wallflower Photomedia Gallery in Mildura.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Exhibition Detail | Paul Batt

Growing up in Footscray, Paul knows the Kororoit creek well. Obviously a common pastime amongst (more than likely younger generations) that dwell in close proximity to “shit creek” is the construction of these wonderful trinkets. Paul has made a collection of these curious objects and taken their portraits.

Photographing Kororite creek for the project _on this site, Batt indirectly portrays the individuals and groups that have occupied this space by the objects and marks they have left behind. Investigating the inhabitant’s interaction with each other and the environment, Batt’s work and draws on the similarities and differences between the people interacting with the area and the evidence left in the sites themselves.

Batt is a Melbourne based artist who explores human presence in the urban environment, often through what is left in its absence. Documenting people, objects and the sites of human habitation, his work looks at the individual’s role within the landscape. Batt is a graduate of both the Victorian College of the Arts and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University, where he is also a Sessional Photography Lecturer. Batt’s work has been exhibited widely including exhibitions at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre For Photography and the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Exhibition detail | Sanja Pahoki

"I grew up in Deer Park where Kororoit Creek runs directly through the suburb. So I feel like I know it fairly well. At least the section of the creek that runs through Deer Park. It didn’t seem very wide or deep, even for a little kid. But still there were only a few sections where you could confidently cross over without getting wet. I remember the creek as unruly with muddy embankments. I used to go down there to catch tadpoles in glass jars hoping they would turn into frogs. I kept these jars on my desk in my bedroom and would peer in looking for a transformation. I even placed a piece of paper onto of the jars to prevent the frogs from jumping out when tadpoles turned into frogs. They never became frogs, the tadpoles always died and I ended up chucking the water out into the backyard." - Sanja Pahoki

Sanja Pahoki was born in Osijek, Croatia and migrated to Melbourne in the early 1970s. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in psychology and philosophy and completed a MFA at the Victorian College of the Arts and presently lectures there. Her work has been exhibited both nationally at the Heidi Museum of Modern Art, and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, and internationally in Japan, Shanghai, Vienna, Berlin, Paris and Rotterdam. Pahoki was a committee member of Kings Artist Run Initiative and has done residencies in Reykjavik, Iceland, and Helsinki, Finland. She is represented by Sarah Scout, Melbourne.

Read more about Sanja's work from Gertrude Contemporary

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Photo set | _on this site

 __on this site, a photographic curatorial initiative that challenges eight photographers to make work about the same location opened Friday 18th June at Wallflower. For this, the first project of many, the photographs are being produced in Melbourne along Kororoit Creek (known as “shit creek”) that runs through the western suburbs. For more information on each of the photographers involved please continue to check the blog for our 'curatorial detail' series and visit their websites, linked below:

Also showing at Wallflower during this show is Amir Zaki with a selection of his video works. Usually known for his architectural photographic digital intervention works, Wallflower has chosen to juxtapose his video works with _on this site. Zaki's work deals with the act of looking, the real and imagined in depictions of the urban Californian landscape and architecture.

_on this site is open until July 11 during the usual gallery hours.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Curatorial Detail & Preview | Thomas Breakwell

Thomas Breakwell won the CCP Documentary Award in 2011 and I first saw his work in the finalist exhibition. Squats documents those intriguing out-of-the-way sites that are often occupied temporarily by youth, the homeless or possibly those on the run. Like Siri Hayes and Sanja Pahoki, Thomas directly engages with the creek, in fact, the first experimental shots he showed me were of actual squats he discovered. The final diptych for the ___on this site project depicts a paved-over creek, far from its natural state, with tunnels – one circular, one square – that usher the creek under the suburbs as if it is some secret.  

The underpasses he has documented are squats; for kids skipping school to smoke bongs, dry places for the homeless to nap and unvisited crevasses to stash stolen goods.

Curatorial Detail & Preview | Siri Hayes

Siri Hayes has an affinity for the in-between spaces at the edge of cities, suburbs or towns. She has photographed amongst these spaces extensively in Australia and also Korea, Japan and more recently Barcelona. Often a river or creek cuts through these urban/landscapes and a good example and influential body of work for this project is Siri’s Lyric Theatre shot along Merri Creek that runs through Melbourne.  The following quote by Kate Rhodes from the Benalla Art Gallery catalogue makes good reference to, not only Siri’s photography, but other projects completed for __on this site:

“Processes of destruction and construction are co-dependent and necessary for a future world, however, as we see in Hayes’ work, sometimes the equilibrium is out of kilter. The problem of rubbish in utopia is an eternal one: who gets rid of it, where to store it, how to get everyone to do the ‘right thing’. The solution is a balancing act so as to find a way for these things to co-exist, but in a way that we can still define them. Although a truism, there is no production without waste and no beauty without ugliness…”

Stolen cars are often burnt along the creek in remote locations. Siri’s wonderful burnt-out car – obviously a Holden Commodore – was at once very recently new, but now, rubbish.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Curatorial Detail & Preview | Katrin Koenning

Katrin Koenning is a German-born photographer now based in Melbourne. Her work was first brought to my attention through a group exhibition titled STILL that we were both involved in at Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne. Katrin exhibited work from the series Thirteen: Twenty Lacuna:

“…I came across this place in the Melbourne CBD. Light reaches it directly for only 20 minutes a day, around lunchtime, when people rush away from work to get sandwiches and coffees. During these few minutes, a transformation happens – faces are illuminated, dust twirls through rays of sun, cigarette smoke becomes an almost glistening silver- blue against dark buildings… It's a 'mis-en-scene', a theatre stage on which people become my protagonists for an instant…”

Katrin’s photography is about the ordinary, the everyday, place and belonging. Her translation of the creek’s “voice” began with a series of questions; who slept by your side in disillusion? Who made that fire in the underpass? Like others involved, Katrin started to collect and the result is the work Tin Taxi Sex-Note – Kororoit Collectibles made up of direct scans from her shit creek collection.

Any ladies need a date?

Monday, 11 June 2012

Curatorial Detail & Preview | Louis Porter

Louis Porter is originally from England but now enjoys roaming suburban Melbourne with his Mamiya 7 and a plastic bag. I have been following his work for some time and he was an obvious choice for __on this site Victoria: Kororoit Creek project. I would call Louis a hoarder, not only of images, but also lists, discarded notes on paper, vernacular photography and whoopee cushions. Of the eight participants working on the project there has been an obvious divide of approaches. Without going into too much detail, basically these have been a direct photographic engagement with the creek or that of the collector; in archives, on location or returning to the studio with found objects.

Louis has worked with the latter approach. In fact, although it doesn’t feature, he actually found a $100 note that was hardly recognisable. He exchanged this for a crisp new one at the bank and bought a bottle of champagne (or should I say sparkling white?) to celebrate an anniversary with his partner – money well spent! This is one work from the triptych he has created. I can’t help but wonder if the moccasin had such an iconic status in England as it did when I was growing up in the western suburbs of Melbourne?

And yes Mr. Crawford, I agree: "…Porter photographs suburbia like an antipodean David Lynch." (from The Age)

For more information visit Louis Porter's website

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Detail | Amir Zaki

Meditations on the Hollywood Juniper was exhibited in Truthiness: Photography as Sculpture at California Museum of Photography in 2008. This video brings together simultaneous depictions of two views of the common street tree and transforms them into an ambiguous and otherworldly form. 

Amir Zaki is a Californian-based artist whose work explores the urban landscape through photography, video and sound. Usually known for his architectural photographic digital intervention works, Wallflower has chosen to juxtapose his video works with __on this site, a photographic curatorial initiative that challenges eight photographers to photograph the same location. For the first project the photographs are being produced in Melbourne along Kororoit Creek (known as “shit creek”) that runs through the western suburbs.

Zaki’s work deals with the act of looking, the real and imagined in depictions of the urban Californian landscape and architecture. During an interview in revolver, he spoke of exploring the embedded fiction in the landscape which is built from a shared mythology and how this semi-fictive representation of an area can grow to supersede the reality of the landscape. Building on this, he is using the vocabulary of the documentary style to capitalise on the presumed truth of a photograph. His combination of the elements of documentary reality and artificiality creates a style which he describes as "Hybrid Photography".

His second video work at Wallflower, Hand Held Moon Cycle was also exhibited in Art Basel’s Miami Beach "Art Video" in 2010, curated by Lauri Firstenberg, LAXART, Los Angeles, that was a focused look at the artists who are contributing to a conversation about the dynamics of a particular locale.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Photo Set | Lost and Found

Lost and Found Project: Family photos swept by the 3.11 East Japan tsunami opened at CCP Melbourne Thursday 31st May and is being exhibited until July 15 before coming to Wallflower Photomedia Gallery in Mildura. 


There are three posters available for sale through CCP which each have different prints of photographs and information explaining about the volunteer group “Memory Salvage", the Lost & Found Project, and about Yamamoto.

On their website the crew from Lost and Found explain about the initiation of the poster appeal:

Our plan is to collect donations for the people of the town of Yamamoto from the Exhibits. We decided to sell posters when a friend of mine commented that he didn't know how much he should give since he’s not accustomed to charitable giving. We thought buying posters is an easy means for people like my friend to make a donation. 

We hope to bring the exhibit to many locations, and in order to make this a sustainable project, 70% of proceeds will be donated, and the remaining 30% will be used as an administrative fee, such as the cost of printing and travel. Other than selling posters, we have a donation box set up at the exhibition hall. The money raised by the donation box will be all donated.

You can also donate directly through money raised will go through the local NPO, Yunihuri-Miyagi to be used by the Residents’ Councils of the temporary housing in the town of Yamamoto. There are 8 temporary housing locations, in many cases, the heads of the Residents’ Councils are paying the necessary administrative expenses out of their own pockets. Donations for Yamamoto-cho can be made using credit cards starting at appx: $13.10 AU (1,000 yen)

This project to bring Lost and Found to Australia was initiated by Munemasa Takahashi and Hiroshi Hatate in Japan and Kristian Haggblom from Wallflower Photomedia Gallery in Mildura.