Duane MICHALS, Upside Down, Inside Out and Backwards Enlarge 1 /1


United States of America born 1932

Upside Down, Inside Out and Backwards 1989 Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph Impression: 5/25

Primary Insc: signed l.c., fibre-tipped pen "Duane Michals" inscribed l.c., fibre-tipped pen "5/25" titled c, fibre-tipped pen "UPSIDE DOWN, INSIDE OUT AND BACKWARDS"
Dimensions: image 40.6 h x 50.5 w cm sheet 40.6 h x 50.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1990
Accession No: NGA 90.1102
Image rights: © Duane Michals, Courtesy Pace/Macgill Gallery, New York

The only truth I know is my own experience. I don't know what it means to be black. I don't know what it means to be a woman. I don't know what it means to be Cartier-Bresson. So I have to define my work in terms of my own truth. That's what the journey is all about, if you are to use your own instincts. The great wonder is that we each have our own validity, our own mysteries. It's the sharing of those gifts that makes artists artists.
Duane Michals

Michals most often creates visual narratives employing photography and text to tell mysterious stories that blur the boundary between the real world and the world of dream states. An interest in mirrors and musings on the possibility of a magic world that lies within them is found throughout his work. Like Lewis Carroll, he often invites us to join him in exploring, Alice-like, the world through the looking glass, creating a fairy tale like adventure in which a grown-up consciousness often intrudes.

The mirror becomes a metaphor for the fact that we are often deceived by what we think we see, and that a photograph is not always what it seems. 'I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection' he has said. Objects in his photographs are usually treated as props upon a stage with Michals as a god-like director of the action, as explored in his hand coloured image, The ideal city.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra