(Australia 14 May 1957 – )
86.5 x 84.6 cm image (sight); 90.5 x 88.5 x 3.7 cm frame
As part of a generation of Australian women artists who came to the fore in the early 1980s, Anne Zahalka’s practice has always been concerned with questioning dominant myths and cultural constructs. The broad sweep of Zahalka’s oeuvre has often been underpinned by a common strategy: the world in her images appears as theatre where place, gender and national identity are questioned.
With the ongoing series ‘Artists’, Zahalka turns her critical lens upon the creative process and the myth of the artist as hero. Each figure in the more than 25 portraits completed so far is a noted contemporary practitioner and Zahalka has shown them in clever set-ups that hint at or proclaim who they are. The artful and performative nature of ‘Artist #47 (Debra Phillips)’ conveys a self-reflexive play on notions of artistic ‘genius’. Numbered like a prototype inventory these collaborative portraits can appear ironic. In Zahalka’s self portrait, ‘Artist #33’, there is also delight and creative potential in play-acting with a stereotype which is being unmasked.
Centre for Contemporary Photography, Hall of mirrors: Anne Zahalka portraits 1987-2007, 2007, (illus.).
Hall of mirrors: Anne Zahalka, portraits 1987-2007: