22 Apr 1917 - 28 Nov 1992
Sidney Nolan created this collage using 19th-century wood-engraved illustrations, changing its orientation and juxtaposing disparate images to defy any narrative interpretation. The stark tonal contrast of black and white lends emotive force and a surreal, dreamlike quality. Nolan’s unorthodox approach sought to disorient the senses in order to convey an intense emotional reality, inspired particularly by French poet Arthur Rimbaud (1854–91).
Fascinated by the multi-functional potential of collage, Nolan combined its sculptural capacity with the shapes and tones of his source materials to create an abstract composition. His patchwork quilt-like structure suggests movement or fracture and forces our perception to slip between surface
and illusory depth.
collage of wood-engraved illustrations on book page
16.9 x 10.9 cm sheet (irreg.)
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
© The Trustees of the Sidney Nolan Trust/Bridgeman Art Library
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes (working title), Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne, 09 Oct 2015–31 Jan 2016
Art of parts: collage and assemblage from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Sep 2016–13 Nov 2016
Referenced in 5 publications
Jane Clark, Sidney Nolan - landscapes and legends: a retrospective exhibition 1937 - 1987, Sydney, 1987, 33.
Elwyn Lynn, Sidney Nolan: myth and imagery, London, 1967, 9-10.
Arthur McIntyre, Contemporary Australian collage and its origins, Roseville, 1990, 19, 30-32.
Kendrah Morgan, Sidney Nolan: early experiments with Narelle Jubelin: Coda, Bulleen, 2012, 11-12.
T.G. Rosenthal, Sidney Nolan, London, 2002, 25.