The Image Collective
Olga Bennett, Lauren Dunn, Josephine Mead, Annika Koops, Sanja Pahoki, Grace Wood
30 Jun–7 Aug 2021
The collective set out to create new dialogue and discourse with a selection of progressive and diverse contemporary arts, curatorial and academic practices where the central motif of their process of thinking and making is relevant to the politics of the image in its various forms. Our primary interest is to question our contemporary relationship to the image and together develop up to date discourse to share with others to act as an archive as well as stimulate our collective practises.
Image Collective are invested in working through discourses related to the Image, both in the artist’s individual practices and collaborative methodologies. In 2020 they produced a publication and created an online platform titled Dialog that functions as a live working space charting ideas, enquiries, collaborative practice, making, and engagement with shifting grounds of what constitutes the construction, circulation, and status of the Image.
5 ARTISTS - 6 QUESTIONS | Interviews by Sanja Pahoki
One of the ideas behind the formation of the Image Collective was that we would get together regularly, eat some food and chat about stuff. We didn’t get to do that because of lockdowns and restrictions. We had some chats on zoom but it wasn’t the same. There is something about talking about art with food and drink that keeps things loose. In this spirit of looseness and personal connections, and to accompany the exhibition, I chose to ask the artists six questions that I would have liked to answer. These are their responses.
The collective set out to create new dialogue and discourse with a selection of progressive and diverse contemporary arts, curatorial and academic practices where the central motif of their process of thinking and making is relevant to the politics of the image in its various forms.
This program takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded - this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.
Olga Bennett is an artist and researcher from Russia currently living and working in Narrm. She has graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2017 and exhibited at Bus Projects, CAVES, Center for Contemporary Photography, The Substation, KINGS Artist-Run, Monash Gallery of Art, C3 Contemporary, LON and Margaret Lawrence galleries (all in Melbourne), COMA gallery (Sydney), CalArts gallery (Los Angeles) and gallery Kiitos (Japan). In 2019, Bennett completed a residency at Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium. Her recent body of work considers how experiences of physical and emotional vulnerability are reflected in images and words.
Lauren Dunn works predominantly with photography and also occupies the idea of photographic thinking through other materials such as sculpture and video as a means of twisting the codes and conventions of photography. As an active participant in post-photographic discourse Lauren believes the many images surrounding us are an indicator of contemporary consumer politics. With an inherent interest in popular consumption trends and their associated images, Lauren utilises her practise to understand and question the power structures influencing our desires, ethics and the broader impact of commodity culture.
Lauren graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a BA in Fine Art honours in 2018. Lauren’s work is held in various public and private collections and she has been the recipient of a number of prizes; including the Myer Family Foundation Prize, Abbotsford Convent start up studio residency award and the David Fell Photography Award. Lauren has participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and the USA. Selected exhibitions include: Kyneton Stockroom Greener pastures, BUS projects The Green Sheen, Verge Gallery Sydney Still Life Pt II, LON Gallery Fruit & Veg & Parodies, Cal Arts (USA) Heavy Duty. Lauren participated in Spring 1883 (Sydney 2017, 2018 & 2019) with LON Gallery and was a fnalist in the 2017 Bowness Prize and the 2019 Darebin Art Prize.
Josephine Mead is a visual artist, curator & writer, residing on Wurundjeri woi-wurrung Country. She works through photography, sculpture, installation and writing to explore personal notions of support. Her recent work has positioned female family members as support-structures, considered the body as a site of discursive practice, explored notions of deep listening & examined the temporal and sonic nature of writing and photography.
She has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions, in Australia and abroad. She has undertaken residency programs in rural Victoria (The Macfarlane Fund), Mexico (Arquetopia Foundation), Portugal (Córtex Frontal), Turkey (Tasarim Bakkali TAB) and Germany (ZK/U). She was an inaugural Room to Create studio artist at Collingwood Yards, is Chair of Artistic Directors for Blindside Gallery, co-founder of Co- Publishing (with Christine McFetridge), and Artistic Director of MILK Gallery.
Annika Koops is a Naarm (Melbourne) based artist working between painting and digital media. Her works consider how subjectivity may be distilled and reformatted in the digital realm. Current contrasts imaging technologies associated with biometrics with painterly practice to creatively interpret how bodily traces operate in cultural and economic fields. Annika has exhibited nationally and internationally at a variety of ARI’s, public institutions and private galleries. Works are included in Australian public collections such as Art Bank, MONA Hobart and The University of Melbourne Collection. She is represented by Bett Gallery, Hobart and is currently a PhD candidate at Monash University.
Sanja Pahoki is a Croatian born visual artist currently living in Melbourne, Australia. Pervasive technologies such as photography, video and neon are employed by Sanja to explore observations from everyday life. With a background in philosophy and psychology, and working primarily with photography, Sanja is a keen and sensitive observer of social interactions. Existential concerns such as irony, anxiety and angst are prevalent in her artworks. Sanja is currently the Head of Photography at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne and is represented by Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne.
Grace Wood is a Narrm (Melbourne) based artist. Grace creates collage-based installations that anatomise the inconsistencies and eccentricities of the internet archive, art history, and the status of the contemporary photographic document. Her work is concerned with digital technology’s capacity to generate, alter and namelessly disperse images.
Grace’s images of images are presented on fabric, flattened to vinyl on walls, changed into silk, and transformed from photographic prints into wearable items. Her works are objects of adornment, but also flattened representations of objects lost or changed. Using found photographs, internet images, archival documents and iPhone snaps to create new mythologies and alter archives, she manipulates the constructs of power inherent in all image-making.
Grace received a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2014. She exhibits regularly in Australia and overseas, with recent exhibitions including A weird kind of fiction-consumption, LON Gallery, 2019; Ersatz, Cool Change Contemporary, 2019; The world, a liver (receives everyone and everything), Mayfair Gallery, 2019; Edibles, St Heliers Street Gallery, VIC, 2019; AARK Residency, Korpo Finland, 2019; Looking but not seeing, Benalla Art Gallery, 2018; There is a pain - so utter, Gertrude Glasshouse, 2018; and Like a Hasselblad on the moon, West Space, 2017. Grace is represented by LON Gallery, VIC.
Olivia Poloni is an independent Melbourne-based Contemporary and Public Art Curator working across Australia, Asia and Germany with an interest in social engaged practices. She is one of the founding members of the Image Collective, a collective set out to create new dialogue and discourse around ’the image’ in its various forms. Her current curatorial projects include Curator of Australian regional photographic touring exhibition In Her Words (2019 - 2020), Co-Curator of Ruth Maddison: It was the best of times, It was the worst of times, Centre for Contemporary Photography Melbourne (2021), Co-Curator of Fertile Ground, Centre for Contemporary Photography Melbourne (2021), Curator of the Image Collective at Blindside Gallery Melbourne (2021) and Consultant Curator for T Projects an arts and culture consultancy that integrating creative programs and public art into complex built environments. During the 2020 COVID crisis Olivia produced an online platform for visual art outcomes during the pandemic titled INTERVAL. Olivia sits on the City Space Architecture Advisory Board (Bologna, Italy) and holds a Masters of Arts Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.
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