Monday, November 07, 2005

Liesl- A Photo Essay With Thomasr Deconstruction

My six year old niece Liesl was pestering me for a pic of us all at our regular Thursday dinner get together at Mum's house. So we took one:

Left to right: Kashi, Liesl (artist), Thomasr

That done, she asked to take a few pics of her own of various stuff. The following pics are the result. Commentary by your host, thomasr:

1/ Liesl, b 1999, Melbourne, Australia
Mother in a Chair, Looking Away. 2005
Digital Image, 480 X 640 Pixels

The central focus of this image is clearly the artist's mother, but what's that we see? The child is not the Mother's focus. We cannot clearly identify who or what is Mother's focus, but we know it is not the artist. This image seeks to identify this issues that take a mother away from the child: not always easy to see, but the effect is there. A remarkable achievement in photography.

2/ Liesl, b 1999, Melbourne, Australia
Kashi, Australian Princess.
Digital Image, 480 X 640 Pixels

Liesl takes the tradition of the Princess, combines it with the trashiness of reality TV and then re-interpreted again for the viewer. The rose in the foreground echoes the life and death of Diana of Wales ("England's Rose"). The unnatural pose of the subject shows the unnatural nature of the life of the modern princess. The final touch is the VB beer can ("old Australia") and the red wine glass ("new, sophisticated Australia"). The blurriness is reminiscient of old 30's and 40's movie stars with vaseline on the lens; non reality, unobtainable. Genius.

3/ Liesl, b 1999, Melbourne, Australia
Mother's Undivided Attention: For Now
Digital Image, 480 X 640 Pixels

Having endured the reality of modern mothers, the artist now brings her mother into full frame. A genuine smile, fully framed face. This image sends love, affection and attention.

4/ Liesl, b 1999, Melbourne, Australia
Where is Grandpa?
Digital Image, 480 X 640 Pixels

Without doubt, this is the saddest and most striking image in this first series by this important, emerging artist. The photo of a photo of a deceased Grandfather strikes to the core. It speaks of longing; of memories implanted through stories and photos- where one is not a witness, but rather a witness of a witness. This distance between the original and The Now calls to mind the last of the biblical writers St John. There is a gentle nod to the also absent (but not deceased) Uncle Steve, with him appearing in a small way in the right of the image- an image of him from when he was around the same age as the artist- a bridging of the generations so to speak. This is an important work, and stands as a beacon of wide eyed simplicity combined with misty eyed complexity.

5/ Liesl, b 1999, Melbourne, Australia
Flower Time
Digital Image, 480 X 640 Pixels

The artists current MO, the photo of a photo, evolves into photo of a painting and then swerves off to to be a photo of a calendar. Only half of the month is visible: perhaps we only feel "flowery" or "bloom-like" for half the time. This is not a condemnation: were it possible to be halfway "bloom-like" for half the month, one would be satisfied. Perhaps the artists is asking us to take time out to "smell the flowers"?

6/ Liesl, b 1999, Melbourne, Australia
Half a Tapestry on a Wall
Digital Image, 480 X 640 Pixels

Once again, as with Flower Time, we see only half the picture. Perhaps we only half-way commit to a project or a hobby. While the results can be spectacular, what good is a half done project? The artists asks us to take the time to look closer, and yet look at the bigger picture- both in the context of this image, and in the wider context of life. Stunning in the extreme.

7/ Liesl, b 1999, Melbourne, Australia
Where's my Dinner? (With Mat)
Digital Image, 480 X 640 Pixels

The artist completes her stunning first show with the simple image of a place mat. Did I just say "Simple"? Have a closer look. Once again, we peel back the layers, look to the edges and then the artist's complete vision is revealed. Sure, a knife and fork. But is it? No, they are only half visible. Once again, the theme of half done, half complete, half wrong comes back to haunt us. This image asks us "what are we really doing about world hunger?" We reply: half a job- if that.

There you go. A wonderful debut from a new talent- obviously worth watching in the future.

Another Note: The Day after this collection was shot, it was revealed that Liesl actually rang a friend by "accident" and said nothing to them, though my friend could hear a voice in the background: a child's voice. There you have it: Liesl is a performance artist as well...
posted by thr at 11:14 am


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i haven't laughed this much since that awful descent into black humour at a funeral

11/07/2005 1:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, have not laughed so much since the very same descent into black humour... i believe at the very same funeral. alas, my smokescreen as the vanguard artist of the 'New Reynolds' is over; i humbly make way for the next generation.
best, brother of anonymous...

11/08/2005 12:51 am  
Blogger Jellyfish said...

With such a talent for finding 'meaning' where it does not, in fact, exist, I can only guess, Mr R, that you are actually one of my old cinema studies lecturers.

11/11/2005 2:45 pm  
Blogger thr said...

No Jellyfish, am not a lecturer in auniversity. Nothing quite so FORMAL.

Now, who are these otehr two posting here? related to me? lordy...?


11/11/2005 5:11 pm  

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