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day dreams: camera obscura (positive)



Katthy Cavaliere


11 Nov 1972 – 23 Jan 2012

  • Details

    Alternative title
    day dreams no. 4 (positive)
    Media category
    Materials used
    camera obscura gelatin silver photograph
    126.0 x 212.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of the Estate of Katthy Cavaliere 2016
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Katthy Cavaliere

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Katthy Cavaliere

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Working across performance, installation and photography, Katthy Cavaliere transformed the everyday and the intimate into symbolically loaded, yet distinctly personal, narratives that unravelled within the public space of the gallery. Often incorporating her personal possessions into her installations, Cavaliere produced work in which the theatrical infiltrated the domestic interior.

    During her 2005 survey show at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery Cavaliere took up residence in the cottage once owned by Australian artist Donald Friend and Donald Murray in Hill End. She converted this temporary residence into a camera obscura, using a makeshift lens made out of piping to project an inverted view of the garden onto the darkened interior.

    With their haunting and semi-abstract compositions – a fleeting trace of the world enclosed within the camera itself – these mural-like photographs were central to Cavaliere’s engagement with the photographic medium and interest in the peephole as device that both frames and transforms the world as well as her interest the domestic interior as a mutable, magical space. She would return to this technique in 2008 during a second trip to Hill End when she constructed a mobile camera obscura affixed to the back of a flatbed utility so it could traverse the town.

    In these camera obscura works an external reality is transcribed onto the landscape of the interior. Public and private space seeps into one another as a poetic reiteration of the underlying concerns of Cavaliere’s practice. Preoccupied with family and childhood narratives and the residual traces they leave on objects, Cavaliere constantly negotiated the edge between the public and the private. As Daniel Mudie Cunningham, the curator of her 2015-16 posthumous retrospective Loved, writes, ‘the story of Katthy’s life is the story of the eye. Fixated on life as if seen through a peephole or lens, Katthy presented the world – her world – as an inverted looking glass, reflecting back a life lived inside out, back to front and upside down’.1

    1 Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Katthy Cavaliere brown paper, Sydney in association with Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart. 2016 p. 47

Other works by Katthy Cavaliere

See all 9 works