Rinteln, Germany born 1962
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
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