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The Sievers' Project « Previous | |Next »
August 20, 2014

“The Sievers Project” is one in which six “early career” photo-media artists respond to Wolfgang Sievers’ photographs in both direct and more esoteric styles. It was organized by Melbourne’s Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP) and the artists – Jane Brown, Cameron Clarke, Zoe Croggon, Therese Keogh, Phuong Ngo, and Meredith Turnbull – were given an open brief.

Therese Keogh departs from photography entirely by replying to an uncharacteristic Sievers photograph by creating a delicate pencil reproduction alongside a conceptually based sculpture. In contrast Jane Brown, like Cameron Clarke, responded to Sievers' legacy by returning to actual locations Sievers photographed and focused on some of Sievers' more industrial images.

Brown, for instance, revisited various sites including the Ford Factory and AMCOR’s Australian Paper Mills in Melbourne.

BrownJ AmcorAPM.jpg Jane Brown, Former Amcor and APM site, Fairfield, silver gelatin print, toned, 2014.

Wolfgang Sievers is an icon in Australian modernist photography and his industrial photos of Australian manufacturing was the core of his photography. That was an era when Melbourne was a manufacturing hub. Now the bulk of Australian industry is a distant memory, with the remnants of manufacturing probably being melted down for scrap.

The once pristine, precision machinery Sievers' celebrated in black-and-white is now covered in dirt, dust and gunk. These are gritty testaments to the changing structure of the Australia economy are eerie and tragic.

BrownJSieversprojectAPM .jpg Jane Brown, Former Amcor and APM site, Fairfield, silver gelatin print, toned, 2014.

We are a long way from the Bauhaus and the iconic images of the industrial age in Australia.

This is a Melbourne centred work that doesn't explore the big mining project in WA or the modernist architecture in Adelaide which Sievers' photographed. It's understandable, given that Melbourne was where Sievers lived and primarily worked, but in doing so it does fail to engage withe death and breadth of Siver's modernism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:08 AM |