Exhibition Dates: Tuesday 31 May 2016 to Sunday 24 Jul 2016
Olive Cotton and Max Dupain are key figures in Australian visual culture. They shared a long and close personal and professional relationship. This exhibition looks at their work made between 1934 and 1945, the period of their professional association; this was an exciting period of experimentation and growth in Australian photography, and Cotton and Dupain were at the centre of these developments.
This is the first exhibition to look at the work of these two photographers as they shared their lives, studio and professional practice. The exhibition includes 71 photographs from the collection of the National Gallery of Australia and focuses on the key period in each of their careers, when they made many of their most memorable images. Keenly aware of international developments in photography, Cotton and Dupain experimented with the forms and strategies of modernist photography, especially Surrealism and the Bauhaus, and drew upon the sophisticated lighting and compositions of contemporary advertising and Hollywood glamour photography.
Cotton and Dupain brought to these influences their own, close association with the rich context of Australian life and culture during the 1930s and ’40s. Their achievement can be characterised, borrowing terms they used in discussions of their work, as the development of a ‘contemporary Australian photography’: a modern photographic practice that reflected their own, very particular relationships to the world and to each other.
The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Swanston Street, University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 12 noon to 5pm, Monday closed
Supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians. The National Gallery of Australia is an Australian Government Agency