(Brazil, Australia 14 Mar 1969 – )
39.5 x 39.5 cm image/sheet
Vanila Netto is one of a younger generation of photographers working within the directorial genre of contemporary photography. Born in Salvador, Brazil, Netto studied architecture before moving to Australia in 1987. She has recently completed a PhD at the University of New South Wales in the School of Media Arts/Photomedia.
Netto’s use of discarded objects, such as coloured plastic, signals an evolutionary process: ‘stuff’ takes on new meaning when it is re-contextualised or transformed and then photographed. A past, used or recognisable element, such as a Statue of Liberty figurine or plastic beer casing, is re-configured into a retro contemporary setting or situation creating a new designed reality. As Netto has written, she has a 'passion for the obsolete, for the simple and basic, for investing things with unusual functionality and nobility'.1
There is mischievousness in Netto's works, evident in the odd juxtapositions of people, things, materials and colours that hark back to childhood memories and dreaming. In their accumulation of past with present these works gesture to a new technological future. They teem with dreams of fantasy and possibilities both real and imaginary. As Tanya Peterson has written: ‘Analogous to photographic stills taken on the set of a sci-fi movie such as Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: a space odyssey’ 1968, Netto’s images linger like so many conspiracy theories.’2
1. Netto V 2001, ‘Stuffed with your choice of substance and covered with elasticised fabric’, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) paper, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales p 11
2. Peterson T 2004, ‘Cushion-do not crush insulation’, Sherman Galleries, Sydney
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
George Alexander, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Tableaux - memento mori - screen culture', pg.313-335, Sydney, 2007, 319, 323 (colour illus.).
Sherman Galleries, Vanila Netto: Cushion - Do not crush insulation, Sydney, 2004.
Vanila Netto: Cushion - Do not crush insulation, Sherman Galleries, Paddington, 22 Jan 2004–07 Feb 2004