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


Dead time



Ben Cauchi

New Zealand

1974 –

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    43.0 x 36.0 cm sight; 76.7 x 65.7 cm frame
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd 2009
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Ben Cauchi, courtesy Darren Knight Gallery

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Ben Cauchi

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Ben Cauchi was born in Auckland in 1974; he obtained an Advanced Diploma in Photography from Massey University, Wellington, in 2000. In his practice Cauchi uses traditional printing methods, such as ambrotypes and tintypes, to create darkly ethereal, contemplative images, which pose questions about mortality, the subconscious and pictorial representation itself.

    'Dead time', 'A sign of things to come' and 'The start of it all', are examples of Cauchi's recent ambrotypes. They continue his interest in early photographic processes and the exploration of ideas of temporality, the photographic trace and photography's inherent self-reflexivity. In these later photographic works Cauchi has consciously stepped away from his earlier practice of utilising 19th century Japanese style ambrotype framing which created a literal and figurative frame. Cauchi now reveals the edges of the image, allowing the illusion to float more freely.

    Physically the works possess an almost magical holding power. Printed on glass the analogue photographic 'trace' glistens on the surface. This present-ness meets concurrently with a sense of absence, the knowledge that what we are seeing is merely photographic, not here, and no more tangible than the time it depicts – 'dead', as it were, expired. This tension between the images' resolute and traditional photographic-ness and their embedded and undeniable conceptual-ness, is arguably in line with much of the dead-pan style evident in contemporary photography since the Bechers.

    The genius of Cauchi's work is the way he forces us to process these two modes simultaneously, enabling a collision of conceptual photographic discourse with the fact of the matter – the photograph itself. The 'authentic' photographic practice of chemicals and light is thus played off against the conceptual notions of art.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • New Victorians, University Art Gallery, University of Sydney, Sydney, 17 Aug 2008–12 Oct 2008

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

Other works by Ben Cauchi

See all 10 works