We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


(Love & hate)



David McDiarmid


05 Sep 1952 – 25 May 1995

Alternate image of (Love & hate) by David McDiarmid
Alternate image of (Love & hate) by David McDiarmid
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    collage of cut-self-adhesive holographic film on enamel paint on plywood
    144.5 x 123.5 x 5 cm framed
    Purchased with funds provided by the Patrick White Bequest 2021
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of David McDiarmid/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    David McDiarmid

    Works in the collection


  • About

    The work of David McDiarmid traverses the complex and overlapping histories of art, fashion, craft, gay liberation, music, sex, and identity politics. McDiarmid was an interdisciplinary artist who played a pivotal role in shaping Australian visual culture in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a dedicated gay liberation activist, and his personal politics were intertwined with his art. His work explored and celebrated his own sexual identity while scrutinising the stigmatisation of homosexuality.

    (Love & hate) 1991 is from the series ‘Kiss of light’ in which McDiarmid used reflective cut and tiled holographic foils to create both a moving tribute and an acerbic commentary on the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In these dazzling provocations, McDiarmid utilised blunt, melancholic and challenging imagery, including the sauwastika, an inversion of the right-facing swastika associated with Nazism. As he said, ‘I never saw art as being a safe thing. I know that exists but that’s not something that involves me.’

    The reflective material glitters across the mosaiced surface and throws brilliant colours whilst simultaneously deflecting the gaze. The holographic veneer is impenetrable and forces a change in position and perspective. As the holographic opalescence of the work shimmers and transforms with movement, the viewer swings back and forth between positive and negative, love and hate.

Other works by David McDiarmid

See all 23 works