Taken in December 2002 on a road trip to observe the total solar eclipse,
this series of photographs by Laki Sideris shows a vacant and arid land
inhabited by strange incidents of nature and deserted man made forms. More
poetic than documentary, these photographs explore emptiness in the minimal
and monumental landscape of the Woomera region.
Nothing distracts from this study. Each black and white image has been stripped
back to emphasise the flatness of the weathered terrain. The horizon extends
and dissolves into the heat of the day. Only the sky interrupts this disorientating
stretch of land. The terrain is so flat that a passing car on the Sturt
Highway has sky beneath it.
is an arresting disquiet about Empty. A concrete picnic ground is the inhospitable
invitation to rest in the middle of nowhere. An abandoned water tower awaits
rain that will not come. At the edge of the Prohibited Area, a weathered
sign prohibits entry to nothingness. Another sign warns of the hidden danger
below the surface of a salt lake.
is no terra nullius. There is a sense of waiting and unease that pervades
these photographs. A distant car will stop and someone will look out. An
unknown volatility waits beneath the surface of a salt lake and we are told
not to cross a landscape that has no perceptible beginning and end. A solar
eclipse erases momentarily the texture of the landscape. Only a ghostly
aura is visible.
is about a land of abandoned ordnance, refugee detention centres and discarded
concrete constructions. It is a political wasteland, where human presence
is held at a distance. It is a landscape where ideas about emptiness and
identity have been forcibly imposed.
Symington, January 2004
for Contemporary Photography
205 Johnston Street Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia
opening Thursday, January 29, 6 - 8 pm
January 30 - February 28, 2004
Wednesday - Saturday, 11 am - 5 pm
are available in two sizes
80 x 80 cm, Edition of 3, $650 AUD
36 cm, Edition of 5, $400 AUD