October Project 2014 | SELFISH

Launch Friday 10th October 2014, 6-8pm | Saturday and Sunday 11th & 12th October 11-5pm


Artists: Elizabeth Cheatham Wild, Trevor Fry, Sarah Goffman, Helen Hyatt-Johnston, Anne Kay, Danica Knezevic, Markela Panegyres, Jane Polkinghorne, Mark Shorter, Salote Tawale, Therese de Villiers

“But very often (too often, to my taste) I have been photographed and knew it. Now, once I feel myself observed by the lens, everything changes: I constitute myself in the process of “posing,” I instantaneously make another body for myself, I transform myself in advance into an image. This transformation is an active one: I feel that the Photograph creates my body or mortifies it, according to its caprice …”
from Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, “He Who is Photographed”

In the show SELFISH there is an acknowledgment of posing for the camera, for the photo. SELFISH also acknowledges that the self, in posing, becomes another person(a) as remarked upon in the quote at the top from Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida. The self, rather than revealing, may hide within the pose, or choose a different mode of self-representation. The self that is represented is “ish”, not quite, or not necessarily, the self we might think we are. This aspect of the photo – the self-construction of a representation of personhood for the camera – is the subject of the October project at Marrickville Garage.

Through inviting artists who appear physically within their work, but who do not necessarily make self portraits or explore the representation of selfhood in their work, was to reconsider the construction of the self in the photographic.

The term ‘selfie’ is used, often in a vaguely derogatory tone, to describe people photographing themselves while holding their camera/phone/device and usually in order to post the image on social media. Artists have been doing this for years, usually with the help of self-timers and shutter release cables. Does the selfie differ significantly from the self-portrait through its often stylised form of pose? Is the self portrait only ever a pose, a style or manner in which we engage with the camera lens?

These considerations are here within SELFISH. For some of the artists here negotiating photographic self representation is a key aspect of their work. For others it has meant a different relationship to the the camera than in their usual practice. All that was required was that the artist be the primary subject/object/poseur in the image.
Jane Polkinghorne





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