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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Hairline crack



Julie Rrap


1950 -


Born Julie Parr, Julie Rrap reversed her name to differentiate herself from her brother Mike. Her first body of work to be publicly exhibited was a major installation at Central Street Gallery in 1982, which comprised numerous photographs that took her many months in the studio to complete. She took a series of full-length, nude self-portraits and then in a subsequent series of photographs she portrayed herself gradually being revealed behind the self-portraits as she tore strips from them, a photographic striptease of the real and the represented. In others she burned the photographs, making an even more dramatic exposure. This photographic installation set the agenda for subsequent works in which Rrap substituted her body for images of women painted by male artists throughout art history.

In 1989 Rrap took up residency in Ghent in Belgium, where she stayed for five years. She exhibited often in Europe and mingled with some of the most adventurous artists of the time, many of whom also shared a strong emphasis on the body, which was very much in line with her own ideas. While photography remained a key to her work, Rrap experimented with other media, including sculpture and installation. In 1992 she returned to Australia to take part in the 9th Biennale of Sydney, ‘The boundary rider’. Her work at the time had strong bodily connotations, which in hindsight were relevant to the underlying theme of that biennale. The more apparent theme of borders included issues of identity and of investigating the boundaries of art and life, and this too fitted well with her interests.

The work she chose to present was ‘Hairline crack’, a striking example of one of the themes in her work: feminising minimalist objects. From a distance the black line on the wall appears as a minimalist sculpture in perspex, but on closer inspection it becomes apparent that it is human hair contained in a perspex tube. Even more provocative is the fact that the hair is escaping from its geometric container, an unruly excess which at one time made Rrap consider calling the piece ‘Bikini line’.

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection Handbook, 2006




Media category


Materials used

acrylic glass and hair


Installation dimensions variable depending on number of sections installed. Each section 30.0 x 100.0 x 3.5cm. :

1-15 - 15 sections, 30 x 100 x 3 cm, each front sheet/tube of perspex

1-15 - 15 sections, 30 x 100 x 0.5 cm, each backing sheet of perspex

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased with funds provided by the Young Friends of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1993


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Julie Rrap

Works in the collection


Shown in 5 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 9 publications


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Great gifts, great patrons: an exhibition celebrating private patronage of the Gallery, Sydney, 1994. no catalogue numbers

Anthony Bond, Contemporary: Art Gallery of New South Wales Contemporary Collection, 'Imagining the body', pg.246-289, Sydney, 2006, 286, 287 (colour illus.).

Anthony Bond and Victoria Lynn, AGNSW Collections, 'Contemporary Practice - Here, There, Everywhere ...', pg. 229-285, Sydney, 1994, 244 (colour illus.).

Anthony Bond OAM and Yvonne Kennedy, The boundary rider: 9th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, 1992, 202, 203 (colour illus.).

Victoria Lynn, Art and Australia (Vol. 31, No. 2), 'Minimalism and its shadows: girding the grid', pg. 234-243, Sydney, Summer 1994, 234-235 (colour illus., detail), 240, 243.

Victoria Lynn, Look, 'Identity and the Body', pg. 12-13, Heidelberg, Sep 1994, 13.

Julie Rrap, Strangers in Paradise - Contemporary Australian Art to Korea, 'Promiscuity and Statistics', pg.66-69, Seoul, 1992, 68 (colour illus.), 95, 101. 22

Wayne Tunnicliffe, Look, 'Past/Present/Future: the importance of collecting contemporary work and Contempo's contribution', pg.14-15, Sydney, Apr 2003, 15 (colour illus.). illustration is a detail

Judith White, art lovers: the story of the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales 1953-2013, 'Chapter 5: Be part of the art 1988-2000', pp. 111-138, Sydney, 2013, 115, 232 (colour illus.).