Anne Zahalka's photography utilises unmistakably contemporary subject matter and means of display (the illuminated lightbox). It is, however, imbued with an awareness of art history, in particular of Dutch seventeenth-century genre painting, still life and the portrait, as well as scenes of daily life. In the series 'Open House' 1995, Zahalka draws these strands together in images that orchestrate the public display of private life. Presented in large lightboxes, a technological product of our time, the works expose the intimacy of contemporary living spaces within the public domain. The camera plays privileged viewer, peering into the lives and homes of the subjects. The viewer is drawn into these saturated pictorial spaces and encouraged to examine all the objects that the photograph makes visible.
'Saturday 9:15pm' 1995 brings together Zahalka's exceptional ability in working with the genre of portrait photography and her understanding of the meanings of advertising imagery. The banality of everyday domestic life is presented as extraordinary because of the way in which the individuals are represented. The obsessive detailing in the work (eg the people, the frame of the view through to the next room, the objects on the table) is heightened through the use of the lightbox where luminescence comes from behind rather than in front of the image.
Duratran, Perspex and lightbox
166.7 x 125.7 x 20.1 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales Contempo Group 1997
Not on display
© Anne Zahalka. Licensed by Copyright Agency
Shown in 1 exhibition
Photography is Dead! Long Live Photography!, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, 23 Jul 1996–10 Nov 1996
Referenced in 5 publications
Judy Annear, Look, 'Contempo supports Photography Collection', pg. 24, Heidelberg, Mar 1998, 24 (colour illus.).
Judy Annear, Look: 1953-2003 celebrating 50 years, 'Art through a lens: photography and the Art Gallery Society', pg.48-50, Sydney, May 2003, 49, 50 (colour illus.).
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales annual report 1998, 'Collections', pg. 15-19, Sydney, 1998, 19 (colour illus.).
Martin Jolly, Art and Text, 'Anne Zahalka: Spurs of the moment', pg. 62-65, Prahran, May 1996, 62-65, 64 (colour illus.).
Linda Michael, Photography is dead! Long live photography!, Sydney, 1996, 37, 102 (colour illus.).