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May 2006



Simryn Gill

Singapore, Malaysia, Australia

1959 –

Artist profile

Alternate image of May 2006 by Simryn Gill
Alternate image of May 2006 by Simryn Gill
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    gelatin silver prints
    27 photographs: 11.1 x 16.4 cm each image; 12.5 x 17.7 cm each sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed. Dated.

    Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Geoff Ainsworth AM 2019
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Simryn Gill

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    Artist information
    Simryn Gill

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Simryn Gill is one of Australia’s leading artists. In her work, Gill explores the contemporary postcolonial condition and our experience of place, history and culture through various media, but she has a particular affiliation with the photographic medium. The camera’s ability to index and memorialise a place and a moment in time is intrinsic to the motivation (and methodology) of her practice.

    Gill deftly alternates between work that monumentalises its subject – her ‘Eyes and storms’ suite of photographs of open cut mines, exhibited when she represented Australia at the 2013 Venice Biennale, being a case in point – and work that focuses on the minute details of everyday life. The images in ‘May 2006’ are diaristic; snapshots of urban landscapes remarkable only for the way in which they have been recorded. The work’s full suite of 817 photographs were taken using 30 rolls of discontinued film, presented as groups of images that document Gill’s daily walks through her local Sydney neighbourhood. The film’s imminent expiry in May 2006 frames the project, with each collection of photographs representing the exposures on a roll of film used on a different day of that month.

    Much like the film itself, these scenes have been salvaged from the fate of being overlooked – of being ordinary – by virtue of the simple fact that they have been photographed and memorialised. The only figures we can see are silhouetted in the far distance of a train platform, yet evidence of human mark-making is everywhere. These are sites that are distinctly lived spaces despite their absent inhabitants. The detritus of the suburban scrawl here becomes a haunting collection of memento mori, mundane yet achingly poignant.

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Museum of Contemporary Art, Simryn Gill, Köln, 2008, 57, 64-65, 98-99 (colour illus.).

Other works by Simryn Gill

See all 114 works