Adelaide, South Australia, Australia born 1946
Natura Morta VIII (Aquarium)
1987 Description: from the Natura Morta series
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph
This series presents objects (including a toy boat, an aquarium and a step pyramid) placed in dark spaces which have been hand painted by the artist. While they draw on the great tradition of the still life in Western art, in which inanimate objects remind us of the finiteness of life, the meaning or significance of the objects in Cornish’s photographs, shown without any context, remains ineffable. Rather than referring to something in the actual world, as photographs often do, Cornish’s dark still lifes remind us of all the things that can’t be photographed, including memory itself. As the artist has noted, ‘realising the isolation and finiteness of what is present in the image, we are also aware of the infinity of what is absent’.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra