Simryn Gill: Inland is a survey of photography and takes place in a photography gallery. It is important to declare at the outset, that while photography forms a significant and wondrous part of her practice, Simryn Gill does not consider herself a photographer; “For me, the taking of photographs is another tool in my bag of strategies, in that awkward pursuit of coherence we sometimes call art”.1 Simryn Gill: Inland embraces this conundrum as an entry point for considering Gill’s photography, and how photography might function more broadly as a way of engaging with the world.
Seven major series wind almost chronologically through the gallery—in this first survey of Gill’s photography—following a path, quite literally, from outside to inside, from found in nature to found in culture and back. Commencing with three series located outdoors, Forest (1996–1998), Rampant (1999) and Vegetation (1999), the survey moves to Gill’s sweeping interior series Dalam (2001). On the cusp of outside and inside is Power station (2004), which makes a curious and visceral analogy between the interior of her childhood home in Port Dickson, Malaysia and the interior of an adjacent power station. Like a medieval Book of Hours, the hand-sized concertina work Distance (2003–2009) is an attempt by Gill to convey the interior of her home in Marrickville, Sydney to someone residing outside Australia.
Gill’s most recent work Inland (2009), commissioned for this survey and photographed during a road trip from northern New South Wales to South Australia and across the bight to Western Australia, is at the heart of the exhibition. Gill’s only moving image work, Vessel (2004), commissioned for SBS Television, closes the exhibition’s journey with the almost imperceptible passage of a small fishing vessel across the horizon. To ground the exhibition, or perhaps to oversee our journey, one image is selected from Gill’s highly regarded series, A small town at the turn of the century (1999–2000).
Seeking an understanding of the politics of place informs her recent series. Inland confounds what is normally expected from photographs of Australia’s interior and eschews decorous landscapes, vast horizons or smiling rugged people, for modest interiors of homes. Indeed there are no people present, only the houses they have inhabited as evidence of their subjectivity.
Inland consists in piles of small jewel-like Cibachrome and black and white prints sitting on a table for viewers to peruse, heightening the provisional nature of its description, leaving open-ended the question of what can be known through photographic representation.
Presented by Centre for Contemporary Photography and Melbourne International Arts Festival, Simryn Gill: Inland is curated by Naomi Cass. Selections from Simryn Gill: Inland will tour to five regional Victorian venues in 2010 and 2011 with NETS Victoria and support from Melbourne International Arts Festival.
Exhibition Curator and Director
Centre for Contemporary Photography
1. Simryn Gill “May 2006”, Off the Edge, Merdeka 50 years issue no. 33, September 2007, p. 83.
the Simryn Gill: Inland catalogue PDF 1.4Mb
FREE PUBLIC PROGRAMS
SIMRYN GILL IN CONVERSATION WITH NAOMI CASS
EXHIBITION CURATOR AND CCP DIRECTOR
SATURDAY 10 OCTOBER —12PM
SUPPORTED BY JASPER COFFEE
WALK THROUGH THE EXHIBITION WITH REBECCA CHEW
CCP DEPUTY DIRECTOR
SATURDAY 31 OCTOBER—12PM
WALK THROUGH THE EXHIBITION WITH NAOMI CASS
EXHIBITION CURATOR AND CCP DIRECTOR
SATURDAY 14 NOVEMBER—12PM
WALK THROUGH THE EXHIBITION WITH DR DANIEL PALMER
SENIOR LECTURER DEPARTMENT OF THEORY
FACULTY OF ART & DESIGN, MONASH UNIVERSITY
SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER—12PM
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
from Inland 2009
installation photograph by Jenni Carter