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Australian art

Contemporary art

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Imagine a raft: hard rubbish 4+5



Jon Cattapan


15 Apr 1956 -


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bulgari Art Award 2013

The Bulgari Art Award for contemporary painting has enabled the Gallery to acquire an exceptional work by Jon Cattapan for our permanent collection. Cattapan is a highly regarded artist and one of Australia's finest contemporary painters. His subject is often contemporary cities: their architecture and organisation, and their various modes of occupation. Cattapan overlays specific imagery with an abstract patterning that recalls the digital matrixes through which information circulates, extending local references into more global concerns.

The triptych 'Imagine a raft: hard rubbish 4+5' 2012, was painted over a five year period, evolving through a series of accruals and revisions. The left and right panels present schematic versions of a raft like assemblage of detritus, based on a pile of disused furniture waiting for the council collection trucks at the end of Cattapan's street in Melbourne's St Kilda. The central panel refers more broadly to the idea of the city as a global screen of gridded information.

For Cattapan, the discarded objects resembled a marooned vessel, and set him thinking about broader issues of what we value and what we discard. How do simple belongings shape our sense of identity? And how, by extension, can global preoccupations with territories and surveillance inform the creative zeitgeist of our times? These questions are a part of the artist's thinking and aesthetic.


Other Title

Imagine a Raft: Hard Rubbish 4+5

Place where the work was made

Melbourne Victoria Australia



Media category


Materials used

triptych: oil on linen


dimensions variable :

a - left panel, 140.5 x 140.3 cm, stretcher

b - central panel, 140.7 x 140 cm, stretcher

c - right panel, 140.7 x 140.2 cm, stretcher

Signature & date

Signed and dated u.l. verso on canvas [part a], black fibre-tipped pen "Cattapan 2006-2011".
Signed and dated u.r. verso on canvas [part b], black fibre-tipped pen "Cattapan 2006-2011 [underlined]".
Signed and dated u.r. verso on canvas [part c], black fibre-tipped pen "Cattapan 2010".


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bulgari Art Award 2013


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Jon Cattapan

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 10 publications


Jon Cattapan, ARTAND Australia, 'The creative mix', pg. 57-59, Sydney, Aug 2013-Oct 2013, 58 (colour illus.).

Suzanne Fraser.,, 'Bulgari Art Award: Jon Cattapan', Melbourne, Apr 2013, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 15.10.2013,

Sonia Harford.,, 'Work of 'humble discards' wins art prize from luxury label', Sydney, 12 Apr 2012, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 15.10.2013,

Carolyn McDowall.,, 'Bvlgari Art Award 2013, won by Melbourne Artist Jon Cattapan', South Yarra, 12 Apr 2013, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 15.10.2013,

Clive Paget.,, 'Hard rubbish earns Cattapan $80,000', Sydney, 15 Apr 2012, n.pag. (colour illus.). viewed 15.10.2013,,hard-rubbish-earns-cattapan-80000.aspx

Professor Marie Sierra, Hits & memories: 10 years at the Academy Gallery, 'Foreword', pg. 2, Launceston, 2012, front cover (colour illus.), 2, 14 (colour illus., detail), back flyleaf (colour illus., detail).

Jill Sykes, Look, 'A continuum of ideas: winning artist with a conscience', pg. 12-13, Sydney, May 2013, 2-3 (colour illus., detail), 12 (colour illus.), 13 (colour illus., detail).

Eleonora Triguboff (Editor), Art & Australia, Sydney, May 2013-Jul 2013, frontispiece (colour illus.). artist is pictured in front of the artwork (Bulgari Art Award advertisement)

Jack Willet, Jon Cattapan, Melbourne, 2012, n.pag. (colour illus.).

Natalie Wilson and Anneke Jaspers, Foundation Newsletter #22, 'Curators' and coordinators' reports: Australian art', pg. 6-7, Sydney, Jun 2013, 7 (colour illus.).