This exhibition, which recently finished at the fantastic City Gallery looked at a sprawling collection of engineering photographs taken out of their original context and positioned (quite skilfully) into the gallery space. Titled Record and Analysis it's subheading should have been An exercise in an attempt at objectivity, having been reduced to hilarity by the curator.
The last time I reviewed an exhibition there was for Bluestone Loungeroom. I opened with the line This isn't for the cool kids. This one's for the geeks, the nerds, the unsung heroes... It seems to be a running theme at City Gallery to maintain this focus, and it's done here with gusto. It's a real marvel looking at these images, stripped of almost any original meaning. At times you are left with marvel at the great improvements in infrastructure that Melbourne, or any other modern city for that matter, went through after the second world war. Other times you can't help but giggle at the ludicrous measurements, notes and points of importance.
As to be expected from this exhibition, it was laid out with meticulous precision. This arrangement gave the work the order it needed to shine, to speak to the inner engineer in all of us. But in doing so, it referenced the original context of these works. Not as things of beauty or conceptual interest but as useful objects to those who needed them. In this sense, we're reminded that they originally served as records and documents, instead of the objects of mirth that we can't help feel by looking at them now. This isn't a critique of the exhibition design however, I think it was spot on. It's a shame I can't link to the curator's statement because it's worth reading, and articulates my points in much finer detail. What I can do, however, is link to the curator's (Louis Porter) website. The rest of his work, both found and produced by him are in the same objective strain and gives a clearer view of the ideas in this exhibition.
The personal highlight was pulling out the draws (seen above) and perusing through bizarre collections and documents. The street signs and shire council crests were a nice touch, but nothing beats photographic documentation of bricks. I'd put a call to action at the bottom of this post urging you to go see it, but it finished weeks ago.