From the self-conscious stage-setting of her early work to the striking colour and large-scale format of her recent photography, Sydney-born Anne Zahalka continues to explore the nature of images and image-making, highlighting issues of authenticity – particularly when she borrows material from the canon of art history – and photography’s relationship to the real world.
In The Sunbather #2 from the series Bondi: Playground of the Pacific (1989) Zahalka ironically plays with the conventions of art and gender by rephotographing Max Dupain’s Sunbaker (1937) as a redhead with pale skin. The later Leisureland (1998-2000) series, however, keeps irony in check and casts a keen eye on the character of leisure activities in Australia, including such events as the Cole Classic (Australia’s largest ocean race) and Jacaranda Festival (Australia’s oldest folk floral festival, coinciding with the blooming of the Jacaranda tree). In large-format prints of saturated colour, this series presents spectacle in a spectacular fashion. This small exhibition brings together Bondi: Playground of the Pacific and Leisureland for the first time at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Anne Zahalka has exhibited extensively in Australia, Europe and Asia since the early 1980s. In 2005 she was the winner of the Leopold Godowsky Photography Award, Boston. Recent international group exhibitions include Supernatural Artificial (2004) at the Metropolitan Museum of Photography in Tokyo (and touring) and Photographica Australis (2003), which toured through Asia. A major survey of Zahalka’s work, Hall of Mirrors: Anne Zahalka Portraits 1987-2007, has been organised by the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne from 23 March to 12 May, 2007.
The Focus Room is sponsored by Macquarie Bank