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Henry Thornton - Lifestyle: A discussion of economic, social and political issues Julie Rrap: Body Double Date 17/09/2007
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By Fiona Prior Email / Print

Julie Rrap: Body Double
Museum of Contemporary Art

image: Julie Rrap Overstepping  2001, digital print, 120 x 120 cm
Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney and Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
© the artist

The Museum of Contemporary Art presents a major exhibition of work by leading Australian artist Julie Rrap, encompassing twenty-five years of her practice. Guest curated by Victoria Lynn, Julie Rrap: Body Double brings together photography, video, sculpture and installation, exploring the persona of the ‘trickster’ in Rrap’s work, the theme of the ‘body double’, and the ways in which the artist oversteps the margins of bodily comfort.

Ms Rrap takes control of her image and has been positioning and repositioning it for over 25 years, adding dimensions as technology has evolved and utilising new hybrid mediums as made possible.

Ms Rrap’s early work Disclosure: A Photographic Construct 1982 acts as a catalyst that makes us think about who is zooming who(m); who is calling (or framing) the shots. It encourages us to identify the relationships at play and their purpose. Many of these gender issues may seem a little tired today, but all are crucial to the make up of the currency of power … be they expressed in terms of gender, race or economic influence. The liberating power of creativity when used in such a confrontational and graphic way is that it offers a possibility of what is not, by opening a window in our mind’s eye that goes beyond simple role reversals and successions. Ms Rrap has been using these tools, the political relationships, the clichés and echoes of our culture and has workshopped their dynamics for over a quarter of a century. “… The artist represents herself as a photographer, the author of the image, but she is also the model dressed and undressed, posed and not posing, ‘performing’ for her own camera …”

Image: Julie Rrap Camouflage # 4 (Eiko) (A-R-MOUR)  2000, digital print, 122 x 122 cm
Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9, Sydney and Arc One Gallery, Melbourne
© the artist

Ms Rrap’s work has travelled with the introduction of digital technologies and DVD projections used in varied contexts.  In the contemporary Body Double  2007 the gesture has transformed to an unselfconscious exposé of form, medium and composition – the DVD projection of a life-size naked woman moves between, then superimposes onto two sculptural female torsos. Ms Rrap's work is, as always, an avatar of sorts.
Having – I think – grown-up with a similar theoretical education to Ms Rrap, her work made me smile. In the famous 1972 Ways of Seeing   John Berger wrote: '… men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at'.  Ms Rrap has not only watched herself but she has positioned, repositioned, morphed, stolen poses, cut off limbs, inserted horses tails… written her own script, used her own language and made terms such as ‘good as’ and ‘with balls’  inappropriate as reference. And all the while she has provoked us to think and be and forge 'beyond'.

Julie Rrap: Body Double
Until 28 January, 2008
Museum of Contemporary Art
140 George Street
The Rocks NSW 2000
Email: mail@mca.com.au

Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship 2007 Winner (information release)

On Thursday, 13 September it was announced that Nathan Hawkes from Edgecliff in Sydney is the winner of the ninth Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship for his work Icebergs  2007 oil on canvas.

image: Winner of the 2007 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship
Nathan Hawkes, Icebergs 2007, oil on canvas, 42 x 76cm

104 entries were received from around Australia, of which 21 are included in the finalists’ exhibition at the Brett Whiteley Studio. This year the work of Elyss McClearly, Two Figures  was Highly Commended.

26 year-old Nathan Hawkes is currently completing his third and final year at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, where he is studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in painting. He was included in the National Art School Drawing Week show in 2006, and earlier this year, was awarded the St Vincent Xavier Art Space prize.

In 2004, Mrs Beryl Whiteley was awarded an OAM for the creation and endowment of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. The inspiration for this annual scholarship was the profound effect of international travel and study experienced by her son, Brett Whiteley, as a result of winning the Italian Travelling Art Scholarship at the age of 20.

Nathan has been awarded $25,000 and a three month residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, which is administered by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

The judges this year were artist, Aida Tomescu, Art Gallery of New South Wales Director, Edmund Capon and Barry Pearce, the Gallery’s Head Curator of Australian Art. 

Aida Tomescu said Nathan’s work showed a very considered and thoughtful approach to his subject and she was interested in the way each image changed as it evolved into a new identity.

Finalists’ paintings will be exhibited at the Brett Whiteley Studio from Saturday 15 September to 25 November 2007.

The Brett Whiteley Studio is managed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship 2007 Winner
On view
Until 25 November 2007
Brett Whiteley Studio
2 Raper Street , Surry Hills 
Tel: +61 2  9225 1744 or +61 2 9225 1881
Hours:  Saturdays and Sundays only, 10am to 4pm
Admission  Free

See what The Art Life  is up to this week ... 



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