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Australian art

Contemporary art

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52 displacements (nos 25, 31, 37, 43, 50, 52)



Imants Tillers


30 Jul 1950 -


The canvas panels from this series were painted after American artist Frederic Waugh's 'Paintings of the sea', which were reproduced in Walter Foster's 'How to draw' series. Imants Tillers copied one painting each week for the period of a year from the reproductions in Foster's book, including their gold frames. Six canvases from the resulting series are displayed here in a grid format.

From 1973 Tillers had begun working with images derived from artworks by other artists as he moved towards an appropriation-based art. His practice was influenced by the prevalence of artwork reproductions and their role in mediating the experience of art. Paradoxically, his work reveals how each reproduction exists as a unique version of the original artwork, with inconsistencies of colour and tone intrinsic to each reproduction.




Media categories

Painting , Installation

Materials used

gouache on canvas (six paintings), text (six framed panels)


Installation dimensions variable according to wall size :

a - No. 25 [painting], 34.2 x 42.5 cm, canvas

b - No. 31 [painting], 34 x 42.5 cm, canvas

c - No. 37 [painting], 34.5 x 42.5 cm, canvas

d - No. 43 [painting], 34.5 x 42.8 cm, canvas

e - No. 50 [painting], 34 x 42.2 cm, canvas

f - No. 52 [painting], 34.5 x 42.5 cm, canvas

g - No. 25 [text], 17.7 x 19.9 x 1.3 cm, frame

h - No. 31 [text], 18.3 x 23.2 x 1.3 cm, frame

i - No. 37 [text], 18.3 x 21.9 x 1.3 cm, frame

j - No. 43 [text], 17.7 x 20.6 x 1.3 cm, frame

k - No. 50 [text], 18.1 x 23.1 x 1.3 cm, frame

l - No. 52 [text], 18.1 x 21.8 x 1.3 cm, frame

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 1980


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Imants Tillers

Works in the collection


Shown in 7 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Graham Coulter-Smith, The Postmodern Art of Imants Tillers: Appropriation 'en abyme', 1971-2002, London, 2002, 74 (illus.), 147.

Wystan Curnow, Imants Tillers and the 'Book of Power', "Part 1: Imants Tillers', Singapore, 1998, 17, 19 (illus.).

Suzo Gabik, Art and Australia (Vol. 18, No. 4), 'Report from Australia: Part 2", pg.352-55, Sydney, Winter 1981.

John Kaldor AO (Curator), An Australian Accent, Sydney, 1984, 19, 20 (illus.).

Charles Merewether, Towards Infinity: works by Imants Tillers, 'Displacement, Diaspora, Dissemination', pg.21-27, Mexico, 1999, 22, 32 (illus.). 2, illustration is an installation shot of all 52 canvases

Bernice Murphy, Three years on: a selection of acquisitions 1978-1981, 'Contemporary Art - Australian, European and American', pg. 37-46, Sydney, 1981, 46 (illus.).

Bernice Murphy, Australian Perspecta 1981, Sydney, 1981, 134-135, 135 (illus.).

National Gallery of Victoria [Swanston Street], Popism, 1982.

Michael Newman, Imants Tillers: works 1978-1988, 'Imants Tillers: the artist as translator', London, 1988, (illus), (colour illus.). no pagination or catalogue numbers; illustration is of No.47

n-space, 52 Displacements, Sydney, NSW, 1981, (illus.). no pagination