Trent Parke - Please step quietly everyone can hear you

Exhibition: 28 October to 28 November, 2009

Trent Parke

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This year Magnum photographer Trent Parke, one of Australia's best-known and most original photographers, was commissioned by Sydney Opera House, as an artist in residence, to shoot behind the scenes. With his characteristic originality and imagination Parke takes us with him backstage. Working amidst the darkness, with strictly choreographed logistics, bizarre props and long hours, he captures, with frankness and affection a side of Sydney Opera House few of us have ever seen. The images that have resulted from this exciting collaboration will be on show in complementary exhibitions at Sydney Opera House and at Stills Gallery.

Whilst it is an architectural masterpiece and Australian icon, it is easy to forget that for some, Sydney Opera House is also a workplace. Behind the architectural statement, the grand operas and the thousands of tourists, there are electricians setting up lights, stage-hands moving props, opera singers eating lunch in the greenroom and people waiting to let the final curtain fall.

Parke's eye is drawn to the many details that may, ordinarily, be overlooked. The electric blues and oranges, kilometres of cabling, lines of tape and graphic arrows present a beautiful, if baffling (for the uninitiated) picture. We see wigs without actors, blood-stained props from tragedies, walls grafittied over years of waiting and the intestinal ducts of air conditioning. His wonderfully observant images capture layers of life and time that have accumulated over the years.

All those who visit Sydney Opera House will be able to view the free outdoor exhibition on the Forecourt from 22 October until February 2010. It will be a great opportunity for visitors to see both the inside and the outside of the house at the same time.