Shadows are Cast by Things and People gathers works from Irina Rozovsky’s ‘Black Mountain Heart’, Jordan Madge’s ‘Red Herring’ and Daniel Shea & Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa’s collaborative ‘Devils Lake’ to examine the intersection between fiction and documentary realism. Selected works amplify traditional rules of narrative and documentation to question the nature of truth and representation and to look more expansively at the relationship between image and idea. Depicted through metaphor and allegory, this exhibition of new documentary work explores the poetic and political narratives of social identity, place and history. The symbolic components, of landscape, object or portrait, build upon each other to make visible socio-political and cultural realities without overt ideological sentiment. These works do not sentimentalise or sensationalise, instead employing allusion and suggestion to express a process of tender social story telling.
The sense of obscurity and uncertainty in these images unsettles the empirical convention of reportage photography. Unresolved moments and inconclusive sequences invite speculation, interpretation and complexity. Experience and imagination engage and intersect with each abstracted account as these works open up a platform of exploration of ambiguity and of possibility. Using a true crime story, a place or a time as source material, the narratives represented distil a much larger truth than the sum of facts. These photographers acknowledge present political and cultural backgrounds in order to create a nuanced conceptual narrative, more universal in nature. ‘Red Herring’ examines our relationship with violence and the indelible effect it has on society and our landscape, ‘Black Mountain Heart’ highlights the residue of war, dispossession and the fragmentation of identity, while ‘Devils Lake’ explores current social systems of power and the patriarchy in the United States. Each creates a non-linear narrative in which the works weave and interrogate the division of myth and reality. — Lola Pinder.
Shadows are Cast by Things and People will be on view at The Australian Centre for Photography in May 2017, dates and exhibition information to be announced shortly.