Patrick Pound – Small world – new works with old photographs
new works with old photographs
Cast adrift from their original creator and context, the photographs in Patrick Pound’s artworks find new life and meaning in his hands. In Small world he brings together an idiosyncratic collection of images to create a meditation, not only on the tricky nature of photography and reality, but also of humans and our place in the world.
Pound’s practice is not concerned with photographic mannerism, rather he is “really straight and methodical about things, because it’s a sentimental process already and an expressive form, so you really don’t have to say anything. When it comes to painting, everyone can recognise someone who possesses that lightness of touch with a brush, like Édouard Manet or someone. I like the idea that in conceptual art you can show a lightness of touch like that as well. You can be thorough and saturated, yet light.”
He is a master of juxtaposition. The thought-provoking assemblages of found photographs are full of poetry and whimsy. They are, quite literally, found to be telling things. In the title work Small world, the combination of images such as a girl blowing bubble gum, a couple of monkeys hugging, a plane in the sky and a pair of hands typing shouldn’t make sense, but somehow it does. The mixture of scale - an oversized fingerprint next to a small picture of large buildings - adds to the ambiguity. As no clear link is made between the images, the viewer feels compelled to determine their own, bringing their particular history and way of thinking to bear on the works. Photography is found to copy the world in microcosm. Somehow Small world, with its collection of pictures of the small and large, the significant and insignificant, animal and human, paints a funny, poignant portrait of the human condition.
In other works Pound creates a framework of understanding for the viewer, forging relationships between images and presenting them as one. The title is the key to Pound’s logic. Studio Nazis, portrays a line of seven men in Nazi uniform, inviting viewers to pick the difference between the German studio portrait of Nazi’s and the Hollywood studio portrait of actors playing the part of a Nazi. In Not Quite Ready a line of people in photo booths are caught just before they have their photo faces on. The Addict is a collection of found photo booth portraits of a single woman who has returned to the booth seven times in seven different outfits. In bringing these strangely moving images together, Pound creates a wry reflection on our relationship to cameras and the various faces we present to the world.
Patrick Pound has been exhibiting in Australia and internationally since the mid-eighties. His work has featured in major curated shows, including his large-scale project The Gallery of Air, in Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria; Present Tense: An Imagined Grammar of Portraiture in the Digital Age, National Portrait Gallery; Photographer Unknown, Monash University Museum of Art; and Order and Disorder: Archives and Photography, National Gallery of Victoria. His work is held in numerous public and private collections including the NGA, NGV, AGNSW, the Museum of New Zealand, Auckland Art Gallery, and Dunedin Art Gallery.