Izabela Pluta: Nihilartikel
- When 20 Aug - 20 Nov 2021
Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd Paddington NSW 2021
TUES TO SAT, 10AM–5PM
+61 2 8936 0888
Due to COVID-19 restrictions extending across NSW, UNSW Galleries remains closed to the public, and we have postponed the opening of ‘Izabela Pluta: Nihilartikel’. We will closely monitor the public health advice as it evolves and hope to reschedule the exhibition later in the year.
Izabela Pluta is a Polish-born Australian artist who interprets and re-conceptualises the function of photographic images by fragmenting, translating and reconfiguring things that are both photographed and found. Recent works have used outdated atlases and pictorial dictionaries to reconsider navigation and land demarcation systems, creating works that query the concept of territory and deep time. Pluta has also drawn on experiences of deep-sea diving, incorporating imagery from underwater rock formations, and used camera-less printing processes to echo the shape of land and ocean.
The German term nihilartikel is often used to describe intentional errors or fictitious entries in reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and directories, made to identify copies. For Pluta, the idea that the term itself could be a hoax and that fictional items might reside in a volume of perceived knowledge is a way of grappling with concepts of authenticity and photographic representation. Pluta's engagement with specific sites and collected ephemera tries to undermine the very nature of such systems of knowledge and image-making that are driven by pursuits to understand phenomena and natural forces.
At the centre of this exhibition is the installation ‘Variable depth, shallow water’ 2021 that visits the debris of the underwater limestone rock formation known as The Azure Window. Pluta was drawn to this former sea arch that was once an impressive expression of geological time. The work incorporates handmade contact negatives of unhinged atlases and an object recast from a faux artefact found in the depths of where the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea meet. An accompanying set of photographs depict subterranean passages and translate visual material sourced from out-of-date atlases and dictionaries of physical and human geography, conflating languages of photography and the nuances they embody as physical objects.
The exhibition travels to Watt Space at the University of Newcastle from 14 September – 5 November 2022.
Banner: Izabela Pluta, ‘Variable depth, shallow water’ 2020. Silver gelatin photographs, pigment prints on aluminium, dye-sublimation prints, polyester waddling straps, two-way acrylic, aluminium, polyester resin. Image courtesy: the artist and Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney