Reality is a hard word is a body of photographic work that takes the allegory of the cave as a departure point. The cave is an evocative site in the history of representation, mythology and philosophy. For Plato, the cave is the site to discuss the relationship between reality, experience and the nature of representation. In her seminal text, On Photography, Susan Sontag draws on the allegory of Plato’s cave to speak to humankind’s proliferation of a photographic universe that mediates reality itself. It is this lyrical connection between the cave and the photograph that is emphasised in this exhibition.
In Reality is a hard word, the motif of the cave is used as a device to tease out the relationship between allegory, narrative and representation. As the recurring image, the cave serves as a type of crypt, or an archive itself, a point from which to read other images taken from historical archives which are recontextualised and reconfigured in the series. In these photographs, bison, mythic heads and rocks, geometrical shapes, insects, magnified protein crystals, and other miscellanea constellate around the cave. By combining techniques of digital montage and rephotography, the exhibition brings together a sequence of images: itinerant, mutable and fragmentary by nature.
Sara Oscar is a Sydney based photographer and Senior Lecturer in Photography at the UTS School of Design. Sara’s work reflects upon the diverse nature of the photographic medium and its abilities to reimagine and investigate the relationship between past and present. Through various forms and narrative strategies, Sara’s practice calls upon the archival impulse, employing a range of visual techniques of appropriation and digital collage to challenge the subject of her works. Oscar received a Doctor of Philosophy (Visual Arts) from the University of Sydney in 2008 and is currently exhibiting works in the acclaimed group show Under the Sun: Reimagining Max Dupain’s Sunbaker at the State Library NSW. Oscar has also exhibited at Sutton Projects, Melbourne, Firstdraft, Sydney, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Interlude Gallery, Sydney, The Australian Centre, Berlin and in 2010 won the Award for Excellence in Photomedia, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.
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