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


#7, from the series Empty studio



Justine Varga


1984 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    type C photograph
    22.4 x 28.6 cm image; 26.1 x 32.4 cm sheet (irreg.)
    Signature & date

    Signed and dated l.c. verso, pencil "... 2009... Justine Varga".

    Viktoria Marinov Bequest Fund 2009
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Justine Varga

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Justine Varga

    Works in the collection


  • About

    ‘Empty Studio’ continues Varga’s exploration of abstract interior landscapes. Maintaining the distinctive minimalist aesthetic of her earlier series ‘Placements’ (2005) and ‘Outside’ (2007), the artist arranges pieces of string, toy animals and other unimposing objects within a confined space just as an abstract painter would compose a canvas. Arts writer Ian Houston Shadwell (‘the art life’ blog, Nov 2009) has noted that the painterliness of Varga’s photography ‘is not the coy, artful, recreation of painterly techniques within another medium, but rather a deep sensitivity to the power of composition and her relationship to the studio as an expressive device.’

    The small scale of Varga’s photographs demand an intimate viewing yet just as they draw us into their interior space, the flat plane of the photograph prevents this. An intriguing balancing act is developed within the images as they teeter between the sublime (heightened by the artist’s signature milky palette and subtle use of tone) and the gritty dimension of everyday space in which they are staged and to which we are returned by the whimsical punctuation of mundane objects and materials. The inherently push-pull nature of her work combined with an instinct for creating images that transcend their materiality suggests an artist keenly questioning the possibilities of the photographic medium. Varga’s images operate as portholes into an interior zone: physical, intellectual and spiritual.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

Other works by Justine Varga

See all 6 works