Cherine Fahd - Stage Unstage: Photographs 2000-2007
5 Jul 2008 - 17 Aug 2008
Exploding onto Australia’s photomedia scene in the late 1990s, Cherine Fahd’s powerful and surreal images linger long in the imagination.
Comprising work spanning almost a decade of production, the starting point for Stage Unstage was a photograph of the artist on holidays when she was 11 years old with a single lens reflex camera draped around her neck. This charming holiday snapshot captures the spirit of adventure and wonder that characterises a practice largely comprised of scenes taken while strolling through public places.
Stage Unstage connected the surrealism of Fahd’s early photographs with more recent works that challenge documentary photography conventions by creating strange and subtle twists on scenes from everyday life. The settings are carefully choreographed in Fahd’s early work. I Begged the Wind to Blow (2000) and Wishing for a Goodyear (2000) use balloons and fabrics as sculptural forms that animate elemental forces otherwise difficult to see. Fahd imbues her compositions with a lightness of touch, allowing just enough ambiguity to resist fixed meaning and upset distinctions between the staged and unstaged.
Illusory and perceptual shifts in consciousness gain momentum in the computer generated Looking Glass (2004/05). Through the manipulation of focal points, Fahd stages unstaged scenes of people enjoying downtime in public gardens and amusement parks. The running boys captured in Looking Glass: Tiergarten 1 act as a compendium to A Woman Runs, furthering Fahd’s interest in how form gives way to movement within space. Images from Looking Glass have been reproduced as billboards for Hazelhurst’s gardens giving them a new lease on life; almost as if they were created with this setting in mind.
Private moments un/staged in public feature in her most recent series The Sleepers (2007). A catalogue of images documenting people asleep in public parks, The Sleepers restricts voyeuristic potential through the careful manipulation of cropping and pictorial orientation. It seems apt that Cherine Fahd should cap this exhibition with The Sleepers: strolling through life looking for the perfect picture deserves rest, however temporary.
Image: Cherine Fahd, Looking Glass, Tiergarten, Ink Jet Printer on matt vinyl banner, 2004/2005.
02 8536 5700