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Collection

An image of Reverse self portrait by Ben Cauchi
Alternate image of Reverse self portrait by Ben Cauchi

Ben Cauchi

(New Zealand 1974 – )

Title
Reverse self portrait
Year
2006
Media category
Photograph
Materials used
ambrotype
Dimensions

41.5 x 35.0 cm sight; 79.0 x 68.0 x 4.0 cm frame

Signature & date
Signed and dated c.verso frame, black ink “.../ 2006/ .../ Ben Cauchi”.
Credit
Gift of Henry Ergas 2009. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
Accession number
456.2009
Copyright
© Ben Cauchi, courtesy Darren Knight Gallery
Location
Not on display
Further information

Ben Cauchi was born in Auckland in 1974; he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Photography from Massey University, Wellington, in 2000.

Cauchi uses traditional (‘anachronistic’, according to Aaron Lister Lister in ‘An offer of questionable intent: photographs by Ben Cauchi’, from exh. cat. ‘Ben Cauchi: smoke and mirrors’ 2005) printing methods, such as ambrotypes and tintypes, to create darkly ethereal, contemplative images, which pose questions about mortality, the subconscious and, indeed, pictorial representation itself.

Cauchi’s photographs seem to penetrate deeply into some subliminal realm of memory; they feel at once oddly familiar, like we’ve seen them before, and uncannily distant, dislodged from reality – haunting reminders that the past was also a present, that the present is becoming past.

This dichotomy runs parallel to that of photography itself. This is especially evident in Cauchi’s self-portrait, ‘The final day’ 2006. It shows the artist staring blankly out of what could be a generic nineteenth-century studio portrait, whilst simultaneously forcing us to acknowledge the contemporaneity of the image through the very fact it is by and of the artist, and hence no less ‘contemporary’ than any 21st -century, digitally produced self-portrait.

Ben Cauchi has exhibited extensively in Australia and New Zealand as well as in London. His work is in the public collections of Australia and New Zealand among others.

Exhibition history (2)

Ben Cauchi – The hermetic seal, Ray Hughes Gallery, Sydney, Surry Hills, 07 Oct 2006–01 Nov 2006

What's in a face? aspects of portrait photography, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Sep 2011–05 Feb 2012