(Australia 1959 – )
141.0 x 230.0 x 6.0 cm frame
‘bulletproorglass #1’ is one of the most visually powerful works in a visually powerful series. The suspended bride of Laing’s previous series, ‘flight-research’, hovered in the air often seeming to transcend gravity. These were images of freedom but also poignancy as we were aware of her inevitable fall to earth. The same bride in ‘bulletproofglass’ again hovers in the air, but this time she is shot through, wounded in the abdomen with blood splattered down her dress and over her neck. In this eerie photograph it is hard to tell if she is on her way to the heavens or about to plummet towards the ground: the bride seems strangely caught between these opposites of transcendence and oblivion.
This series is enigmatic and puzzling, violent but unexplained. Are we to extrapolate on the image as a metaphor for the loss of self that can occur on entering into a relationship or more literally on domestic violence in abusive relationships? A poignant and elegiac tone to these images of suffering give them a timeless and even religious quality, and yet the series also recalls the surreal imagery of horror films and splatter movies. Either way, they call on a history of image making in high and pop culture.
As these works are not digitally composed, Laing has worked with a performer to capture this image. This performative element and the documentary nature of the image in recording an action also refers to the more recent history of performance and body art. For Laing’s work however there were no witnesses to the event apart from the artist and her crew. The images alone carry the suggestion of a narrative or of a mise-en-scene, but it remains one which we can only guess at. In a sense the subject of these works is the power of the image itself.
Brisbane City Gallery, Rosemary Laing, a survey 1995-2002, 2003, 46, 47, 48 (colour illus.). pg. 46 & 47 reference the 'bulletproofglass' series
Vivienne Webb and Abigail Solomon-Godeau, The unquiet landscapes of Rosemary Laing, Sydney, 2005, 11, 12, 13, 43. reference the 'bulletproofglass' series