True Image 1999


The phrase ‘true images’ comes from a category of holy relics known as acheiropoeitoi, which means literally ‘not made by the hand, or ‘true images’. In this category can be found such well-known artifacts as the Shroud of Turin, or lesser-known images such as the face of Christ that appeared in a burnt tortilla in Mexico, sometime in the late 1970s. The legend of Veronica contains another example of a ‘true image’. According to the story, at the sixth station of the cross, St Veronica wiped the face of Christ with a veil, and his portrait was miraculously transferred to the cloth. ‘Veronica’s shrouds’ have often been used as a metaphor for photography.

The body of work collectively known as True Image was produced during my final year of my Masters of Visual Arts at Sydney University. The following statement about the work is gleaned from my MVA thesis, published in February 1999

The main body of work exhibited comprises seven large-scale photograms, and a number of found and hand–made objects. The images have various reference points including vision, veneration, instruction, song and sight. The three-dimensional pieces are influenced by both domestic and venerated objects. They play with ideas of both aura (in the sense in which Benjamin used it) and also reproduce the literal idea of a halo. Notions of play and ‘dress-ups’, of visual and oral consumption, and of Christian relics are contained within the pieces.

Overall it is the work’s intention to flick between a set of contradictions: the sacred and the silly, the remembered and the forgotten, the familiar and the uncanny, the child-like and the experienced, the sighted and the blind, the seeing and the seen.

Collectively, the work also forges a link between the ideas of visual and oral consumption. Cutlery and spectacles are referenced as tools that mediate between the inside and the outside of the body, and links between the eye and the mouth, and seeing and eating are explored.