Elaine Campaner, Christmas island, from the series lapped, 2005, pigment print, 67 x 89.3cm, Museum of Contemporary Art, donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Henry Ergas, 2009, Image courtesy and © the artist
Remain in Light: Photography from the MCA Collection provides a broad overview of contemporary photographic practice from the 1960s to the present day. During this periodphotography underwent a tumultuous redefinition by contemporary artists and broke free of its constrictive, solely media based context. Photography is a ubiquitous form of representation and a highly accessible art form. All visitors to Remain in Light will
have been involved with it either as photographer or subject.
Remain in Light includes works from key genres of contemporary photography including documentary, serial photography, performance documentation and studio manipulation of the photographic image. The range of media in the exhibition includes black and white photography, artist books, photo-lithography, objects and digitally created photography.
The exhibition includes works from both the JW Power and MCA Collections. The JW Power Collection is managed by the MCA and includes
a diverse setof works purchased from the late 1960s through to the late 1980s. Through selected examplesfrom this collection – including works by Lewis Baltz, Christo and Barbara Kruger Remain in Light traces developments in photography and its emergence as a major art form. . The exhibition also includes major photo book works by the American west coast pop artist Ed Ruscha whose humorous deadpan photography set a visual style for conceptualism and photo-documentation.
Remain in Light
also illustrates the re-invigoration of traditional genres of photographic practice in recent decades. For example, the exhibition traces the development of the contemporary photo documentary movement from American Mary Ellen Mark through to one of her former workshop students, Aboriginal photographer Ricky Maynard to the landscape as seen through the work of another Tasmanian photographer, David Stephenson. From the photo-document to mass-produced imagery to the rise of online platforms as a way of distributing images, photography is at the centre of critical debates and themes throughout late twentieth century art. Through exhibition, publishing and collection development programs, the MCA has been at the forefront of many of these discussions in Australia, reflected inRemain in Light by the inclusion of works by Patricia Piccinini, Tracey Moffatt and Rosemary Laing, all artists with whom the MCA has worked with extensively.