Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art

Contemporary art

View More:


Iris field



Imants Tillers


30 Jul 1950 -


Tillers has appropriated Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico's paintings since 1981. As Wystan Curnow has written, "Tillers admires de Chirico for the very qualities which were, after the 1920s, to ruin his reputation: his stylistic 'non sequiters', his supposed plagiarism or 'appropriations' of old masters and of his own work, and the apparent lack of a seamless linear development. All qualities Tillers' own work displays. And, as his own practice makes clear, he understands that the enigmatic power of the [de Chirico's] early (universally admired) 'metaphysical' works cannot be separated from the artist's lifelong obsession with repetition." (Curnow, pp. 42).

'Iris Field' was made at the same time as such key works by Tillers as 'Antipodean Manifesto', which also appropriates de Chirico's 'Metaphysical Interior with setting sun', 1971, as well as referring to other related De Chirico paintings from the same period. 'Antipodean Manifesto', as the title implies, overlays the De Chirico with images from Australian, and specifically Aboriginal, Art. 'Iris Field' however has many human eyes painted over the De Chirico, which become the field of irises. The eyes float across the painting, regarding us as we look at the work. They recall the history of depicting eyes in art - from medieval representations to the 'evil eye' amulets of the Mediterranean - as well as suggesting Tiller's own act of closely looking at de Chirico's art. De Chirico influenced the surrealists and the field of eyes in this painting is undoubtedly also surreal in nature.




Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint, gouache, oilstick on 68 canvasboards Nos. 9543 - 9610


281.0 x 230.0 cm overall installed


Gift of Brian and Dr Gene Sherman 2006


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Imants Tillers

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 2 publications


Christie's, Australia Pty. Ltd., Christie's Australia. Contemporary Art. Melbourne 24 May 2005, Melbourne, 2005, 30-31, 31 (colour illus.).

Jennifer Slayter, The Australian Bicentennial Perspecta, text, Sydney, 1987, 114.