Uncertain Narratives is the name of this exhibition and the title of the earliest work. It serves to sum up the concerns in my work. What ties the paintings, the collaged prints and the film together is an intuitive process of working. I think of the individual processes like the pages in a book that go to make up the whole. My background is in painting, print and film-making. The development of the new technologies, mainly the computer, has allowed me not only to continue my fascination with film which had become impossible, but also to develop other aspects of my work in more expansive ways. This is because the technologies allow the possibility of bringing together all of the processes of printing, painting and the moving image. The computer allows both random access to a large amount of information and provides infinite variations as well as aiding the layering process. I use the computer to produce two kinds of work, the first are still images, the second, moving images usually in video form.
The work shown here, The Tunnel, consists of a video (5:33) constructed from still images and video fragments and a 5 meter long print work made up of 15 prints. The film becomes a series of moving collages and paintings in time. The Tunnel video began as a response to an invitation from five media artists in Germany to participate in a project called “Gegenort – the Virtual Mine”. This was a globally networked exhibition and multimedia project sited at the disused coal mine at Neunkirchen. The basic idea was that of the mine as a place of energy production. In former times, coal was the most important raw material of the industrial era. Now it could be said that the primary resources are information, knowledge and imagination. The project’s intention was to continue the original purpose of the mine as a place of energy production. Their tool is the internet, which they use to invite artists from all over the world to participate. The idea was to look for today’s “raw material” by creating a virtual borehole lengthening the disused shaft to the centre of the earth. “Gegenort” can be literally translated into English as “opposing place”. The Tunnel as it was shown in Germany proposed a connection between Gegenort – the Virtual Mine – and Robertson. This exhibition further extends the virtual bore to Armidale. This work reflects on different stream of energy flow, that of people, the effect of transmigration, and the raw material of memories and experiences.
The effect of place and displacement is a major concern in my work. My own background and cultural memory are informed by my parents’ pre-way migration from Italy and Austria to Australia. The images come from a journey, a series of intersecting moments in which public events traverse and shape private moments. Layered and seemingly incongruous images produce a time-based collage, which has no fixed point of entry or exit. Finally, remembered fragments function to reflect the past and search for rest in an uncertain present.
The still works, the collages (Uncertain Narratives) are the most recent works in the exhibition. I think of them as stretched out moments, some abstract, some figurative. In the end they all belong to a kind of stream of consciousness that moves in and out of both private and public narratives. I begin with images from diverse sources such as cinema and Graeco-Roman sculpture, and using various processes of ringing to layer the images, I finally paint and engrave the surfaces of the work. This both distils essential qualities of the images and also pushes towards to the abstract. I see these as the results of a kind of archaeology, a sort of digging or mining into my own history. I’d like to finish with a few words about the paintings (Interruptions and Cancellations). I think they are important because they represent the moment of complete distillation into abstraction, that transitory moment when all words and images fade before it all begins again.
Peter Delorenzo, Neram, 19 December 2002