Tableland Rd

with No Comments

I recently unearthed some 6×6 negatives from the archive of the Tableland Rd series in the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges. These were made in the 1980s-early 1990s when I had the darkroom in Gibson St, Bowden; Adelaide was experiencing boom/bust economic conditions; postmodernism was ever present with its re-photographing of historic images; art’s appropriation of popular culture; curators thinking in modernist terms of the avant-garde as the cutting edge of innovation; the curation starts to becomes the work; and the emerging digital technology was understood to be opening up new directions.

Margot Osborne’s interpretation of the 1990s in the Adelaide Art Scene: Becoming Coming Contemporary 1939-2000 (p.458) is that it was a period of maturity for the Adelaide art scene with exhibitions, funded art spaces, the diversity of art works, and a critical debate about art in magazines such as Broadsheet, Artlink, the Adelaide Review and Artists Week in the Adelaide Biennale. We can add that a process of decline unfolded in the two decades of the globalizing of visual culture after 2000. The most notable illustration of this unfolding is that the older conception of criticism—with its notions of the public, of culture, of value — has evaporated.

It is now a booming art commentary in glossy brochures or catalogues that serve the art market by providing a wrap around text to protect the naked art work from its detractors. The text is not taken seriously even by the artist, and the art commentator is seen as a PR agent for the art industry by the public. It is no longer clear what art criticism with the emergence of the market as the primary determinant of what ambitious young artists produce.

Rolleiflex TLR
2 trees, Tableland Rd

In the 1990s landscape photography was seen as a photography of the past — a realism that the modernists, avant garde and postmodernist had rejected as artistically untenable. This account by the art institution assumed that art photography was about imagination, concepts and constructed/ fabricated image making, not a photography they understood to be a tradition of 19th century, positivist realism with its transparency of the picture surface.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *