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Patrick HALL

Rinteln, Germany born 1962


  • To Britain 19 To Australia 1970

Bone China 2005 Description: cabinet
Place made: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Materials & Technique: furniture, cabinets, plywood, aluminium, glass, ceramic plywood case construction; aluminium cladding: etched, and sandblasted; ceramic elements shaped with grinders; glass engraved, electrical components, light fitting

Dimensions: 1860 h x 1116 w x 477 d mm 1210 w x 570 d mm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.303

Inspired by the tradition of the domestic china cabinet, Patrick Hall constructs elaborate cabinets, often overlaid with applied texts, as containers for linked groups of his own objects. This cabinet is designed to suggest a nineteenth-century museum specimen case but, on close inspection, the taxonomic imagery of its contents reveals a visual pun. The ‘bones’ are made from found fragments of nineteenth-century domestic bone china crockery, found by Hall on Tasmania’s beaches and in rubbish dumps. Bone china was developed to exploit the by-products (the bones) of livestock production in Britain, which resulted from the massive land clearances that, in turn, fuelled migration to Australia during the nineteenth century. Immigrants arrived with, or ordered large quantities of, industrially produced bone china, giving it currency as an aspirational material. Hall’s cabinet links these themes with eloquence and humour.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra