Skip to content

Collection

All

Search

Australian art

Contemporary art

Photography

View More:


Title

Corners

1972


Artist

Robert Rooney

Australia

24 Sep 1937 - 21 Mar 2017


About

In his photographic work from the early 1970s, Australian artist Robert Rooney exploited the camera’s status as a mechanical apparatus capable of documenting systems of repetition. Using a standard Kodak Instamatic camera, Rooney recorded gestures and everyday rituals incrementally, displaying each sequence as a gridded photographic composite. Amid the deadpan uniformity of these black and white photographs we witness patterns of cyclical modulation.

Disinterested in the expressive potential of the photograph, Rooney described the camera in 1975 as ‘a dumb recording device, it’s not the same as seeing. The camera often seems to organise the material itself’.1 In Corners Rooney subjects Melbourne’s Pinacotheca gallery, an important landmark of the Australian conceptual art scene, to the organisational imperative of the camera.

Rooney has photographed the empty gallery from numerous angles, producing a tour of the space in discrete segments. These photographs are displayed alongside a small drawing that functions as an abstract map of the space. This work, as with Rooney’s other sequential photographs, depicts patterns of circulation. The movement of the camera is cyclical but so is the nature of the space itself. An empty gallery is a site of constant transformation, altered with each exhibition and then returned to its empty state. In Corners, Rooney’s interest in documenting his own everyday experience extends to a close examination of the context in which his own work circulated.

1 Robert Rooney, Project 8: Robert Rooney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1975


Details


Date

1972


Media category

Photograph


Materials used

36 gelatin silver photographs and ink on paper


Edition

2/2


Dimensions

8.6 x 8.6 each image; 8.3 x 15.2 cm ink drawing; 58.1 x 104.7 cm visible sheet; 60.6 x 107.6 x 2.6 cm frame


Signature & date

l.r. recto sheet pencil '...1972 ROBERT ROONEY'


Credit

Gift of Peter Tyndall 2015


Location

Not on display


Accession number

297.2015


Artist information

Robert Rooney

Works in the collection

12


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography