Curtain line (Australian crowd no. 2)
15 Apr 1956 -
Jon Cattapan's paintings of the early 2000s addressed the anxiety and paranoia gripping an increasingly borderless and globalised world at turn of the 21st century. This is exemplified in his work, 'Curtain line (Australian crowd no 2)' 2001, which was painted in response to the Australian Government's controversial politicisation of asylum seeking during the Tampa affair and the so-called 'children overboard' scandal in late 2001. By stoking the public's fear over refugees and immigration post 9/11, the Government sought to get re-elected on its tough stance on border control. In the foreground, Cattapan depicts the silhouette of an anonymous crowd, possibly protestors or stranded migrants, cordoned off from the rest of the world beyond the 'curtain line', represented by a shimmering network of dots and lines that alludes to the digital and architectural infrastructure that facilitates the fluid interchange of people, resources and information in our interconnected age.
diptych: oil on linen
180.0 x 360.0 cm overall :
a - left panel, 180 x 180 cm
b - right panel, 180 x 180 cm
Signature & date
Signed and dated u.l. verso on canvas [part a], black fibre-tipped pen "Cattapan 2001".
Anonymous gift 2018. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Not on display
© John Cattapan
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Jon Cattapan: figure ground, Kaliman Gallery, Paddington, 06 Jun 2002–29 Jun 2002
The drowned world: Jon Cattapan, works and collaborations, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Parkville, 13 May 2006–07 Aug 2006
Referenced in 2 publications
Chris McAuliffe, Jon Cattapan: possible histories, Carlton, 2008, 87, 176 (colour illus., detail), 177 (colour illus.), 224.
The Ian Potter Museum of Art and Jon Cattapan, The drowned world: Jon Cattapan, works and collaborations, Carlton, 2006, 6, 10, 16, 44, 55. cat.no. 68