Anne Ferran - 1-38
Exhibition: 15 October to 15 November, 2003
Ferran began working on this project in 1999. It has culminated in two exhibitions this year; 1-38 will be the second. (The first, INSULA, was shown at SCA Gallery in May-July this year.) Both exhibitions revolve around a little-known archive of images of psychiatric inmates. There are thirty-eight of these photos, all of women, taken in the 1940s in a Sydney hospital. Anyone familiar with Ferran's work will recognise what brought her to them - the women are anonymous, their lives are unknown, the place is one of enclosure.
1-38's primary subject is identity. The photographs of the inmates have been cropped to show sections of the body and the faces have been layered one upon the other which effectively amounts to another kind of invisibility. It is characteristic of Ferran's work that the subject is not what is seen in the photograph but something only partly visible which haunts it.
In Lost to Worlds (Ferran's last show at Stills Gallery, 2001), it was the historical residue embedded in the ground or dispersed in the air that was invisible to the eye. In 1 - 38 it is the patients names and faces which are the subjects of Ferran's photograph.
Anne Ferran is one of Australia's foremost photo-artists. This year she won the Gold Coast Ulrick Schubert Photographic Art Award and received a residency in London from the Australia Council.