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Title

Comparative monument (Shellal)

2014-2017


Artist

Tom Nicholson

Australia

1973 -


About

Tom Nicholson often works with historical material to propose new commemorative forms. 'Comparative monument (Shellal)' is the third in a series exploring historical links and contemporary resonances between Australia and Israel/Palestine.

The work draws on the complex history of the 6th-century Shellal mosaic, which was uncovered in Palestine by Australian soldiers in 1917 and brought to Canberra. Eventually the mosaic was built into the architecture of the Australian War Memorial (AWM), where it remains. As an act of speculative repatriation, Nicholson has reconstituted the surviving fragments as though using tiles from the vast dome mosaic by Napier Waller in the AWM's Hall of Memory.

Crated in readiness for its return, 'Comparative monument (Shellal)' invokes the contested sovereignty of the site the original mosaic was taken from. Historically this was located within the territory of Palestine; now it is part of Israel. Today, this desert hilltop offers a view towards Gaza City in one direction and the Israeli city of Bir Sab'a/Be'er Sheva/Beersheba in the other. Nicholson imagines his repatriated mosaic as a platform for this view, which uniquely links the two cities and implies a future alternative to the present.


Details


Date

2014-2017


Materials used

glass tesserae mosaics, wooden boxes, dual channel digital video, colour, sound


Dimensions

duration: 00:6:01 min left channel, 00:13:39 min right channel, aspect ratio: 16:9, display dimensions variable :

a - mosaic 1; 72.6 x 75 x 10 cm

b - mosaic 2; 72.4 x 74.4 x 10 cm

c - mosaic 3; 73 x 72 x 10 cm

d - mosaic 4; 75.4 x 81 x 10 cm

e - mosaic 5; 75 x 79.6 x 10 cm

f - mosaic 6; 73.4 x 73.4 x 10 cm

g - mosaic 7; 75 x 77.4 x 10 cm

h - mosaic 8; 73 x 75 x 10 cm

i - mosaic 9; 79 x 76 x 10 cm

j - mosaic 10; 75.5 x 81 x 10 cm

k - mosaic 11; 76 x 74 x 10 cm

l - mosaic 12; 72.5 x 74.5 x 10 cm

m - mosaic 13; 75 x 79.5 x 10 cm

n - mosaic 14; 75 x 79.5 x 10 cm

o - mosaic 15; 75 x 79.5 x 10 cm

p - empty box 1; 135 x 71 x 10 cm

p2-p7; 79 x 71 x 10 cm

p8-p14; 73 x 78 x 10 cm

p15 - empty box 15; 76 x 71 x 10 cm

p16-p21; 76 x 78 x 10 cm

p22-p26; 80 x 74 x 10 cm

p27-p28; 81 x 72 x 10 cm

p29 - empty box 29; 85 x 72 x 10 cm

p30 - empty box 30; 76 x 75 x 10 cm

p31-34; 75 x 73 x 10 cm


Signature & date

Signed Certificate of authenticity l.l., blue ink "Tom Nicholson". Dated l.l., printed black ink "14 August 2017".


Credit

Contemporary Collection Benefactors and Patrick White Fund 2017


Location

Not on display


Accession number

89.2017.a-r


Artist information

Tom Nicholson

Works in the collection

1


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


Referenced in 6 publications

Bibliography


David Corbett, Broadsheet Journal, 'In the shadow of the wall: reflections on the Jerusalem show VIII: before and after origins', pg. 14-18, Adelaide, Mar 2017, 14 (colour illus.), 15, 16.

Bridget Crone, divan: a journal of accounts, 'Comparative monument (Shellal): steadfastness and the temporal body ...', pg. 54-64, Paddington, Jul 2017, 54 (illus.), 55, 56, 59, 61, 62 (video still), 63, 64.

John Daly-Peoples., www.nbr.co.nz, 'The National; all the best of new Australian art', Auckland, 06 Apr 2017, n.pag.. accessed 28.06.2017, https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/national-all-best-new-australian-art-jd-201647

Julie Ewington, The Monthly, 'The state of our art', pg. 47-49, Carlton, May 2017, 48.

Chari Larsson, Broadsheet Journal, 'Between nationalism and globalism: folds in contemporary Australian art at The National: new Australian art', pg. 11-13, Adelaide, 2017, 12.

The national 2017: new Australian art, Sydney, 2017.