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Australian art

Contemporary art

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In stance of memory



Janet Laurence


1949 -


'I'm interested in how our whole body experiences space; the fact that space and ourselves are enfolded into one another. It's about how our memory – our past and immediate memory – affects everything.' Janet Laurence

Janet Laurence creates art for gallery exhibition as well as site-specific public sculpture and installations. Common links between these different manifestations of her practice include a regard for the history of particular locations, an exploration of natural and built environments, and importantly a sense of how memory informs our experience of place. In all her work there is a strong awareness of the interplay of space and light as well as an interest in potentially transformative scientific and alchemical substances and processes.

'In stance of memory' has layered panels of photographic images, poured chemical substances and clouded reflective surfaces. The images are of a courtyard at the Jewish Museum Berlin. This courtyard has an expressive purpose as visitors emerge into an outdoor space in which trees grow out of the top of concrete columns. The trees and skies symbolise nature and life, and yet they are out of reach while the columns are claustrophobic and enclosing. The layered haunting images evoke memory and tragedy while the alchemical pours of substances and fluids suggest natural and unnatural materials and events, adding to a sense of being immersed in and estranged from the work at once. The veiling and revealing suggests processes of remembering and forgetting which touch on devastating personal experience and political events.




Media categories

Installation , Sculpture

Materials used

12 panels: Duraclear on shinkolite, oxides and ash in oil, rusted steel


100.0 x 600.0 x 10.0 cm

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2006 with the assistance of The George Institute for International Health, 2 anonymous donors, Michèle Asprey & Lindsay Powers, Anita & Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, Kemsley Brennan, Bambi & Derek Blumberg, Natalia Bradshaw, Andrew & Cathy Cameron, Mark Clark & John Pearson, Peter English & Fiona McIntosh, James Hill & Jen Dowling, Michael & Doris Hobbs, Neville Keating McIlroy, Stephen MacMahon & Robyn Norton, Lisa & Egil Paulsen, Janet Pennington, Vivienne Sharpe, Andrew D. Smith, Miriam and Les Stein, Deborah Thomas, Michael Whitworth & Candice Bruce, Corinne and John Young, Brian Zulaikha


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Janet Laurence

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 1 publication


Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Janet Laurence: a survey exhibition, 2005, 20 (colour illus.).