Hijacked / High Calibre

Photographers: quit fiddling with your tumblr and get thee to the School of Art Gallery. Hijacked 2: Germany and Australia, which opened on Wednesday evening, has descended on this town with little fanfare yet boasts a staggeringly good collection of photomedia artists.

Just for starters some of the Aussie photographers assembled for the show are Michael Corridore, Tamara Dean, Derek Henderson, Ingvar Kenne, Polixeni Papapetrou and Canberra’s own Lee Grant. It’s a barrage of images that are seductive, arresting, audacious, challenging, and immediate. Few are staged shots, most emerging from that exquisite meeting of right time, right place, in the right light – everything you want from photography but were afraid to ask.

In the marketing collateral, and again in the opening speeches, it was suggested that a look at Hijacked was akin to browsing social networking sites (Facebook, Flickr et al) but on this point I disagree entirely. While these forums are first and foremost for the presentation of a carefully edited self which is then thrust out into the world, the photographic view of Hijacked is consistently that of the outsider looking in.

A timid turn around the gallery plunges the viewer into any number of alternative realms that are at once alien and naggingly familiar. The meeting of German and Australian cultures is in fact of little consequence, as the assembled artists do away with national pride and instead share a preoccupation with all that is marginal. Common throughout are subjects choosing to exist outside the parameters of normality, as well as some of those so stuck in the bathetic they become a curiosity unto themselves.  As such, attempts to identify German work from Australian are needless and near impossible, save the searingly distinctive light that comes from photography under the Southern sun.

Anyhow, I can deconstruct this all I want, but the fact of the matter is this is a rare opportunity for Canberran punters to see work like this in the flesh. If you have even a latent interest is photography then I suspect you’ll be as swept up as I was.

The show continues until September 25th at the ANU School of Art Gallery.

Accompanying the exhibition is a beautiful tome of the same name. Coincidently it’s my birthday soon…

Michael Corridore from the series 'Angry Black Snake'

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