Michael RILEY, Untitled, from the series cloud [cow] Enlarge 1 /1

Michael RILEY

Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi peoples

Australia 1960 – 2004

Untitled, from the series cloud [cow] 2000, printed 2005 Description: Cow

Collection Title: Cloud series
Place made: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: photographs, chromogenic pigment print Printed on Epson Stylus Pro 9600, by Sandy Barnard

Primary Insc: Ed: 1/5
Dimensions: 110.0 h x 155.0 w cm framed (overall) 131.2 h x 177 w x 6.5 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.294.7
Image rights: Reproduced courtesy of the Michael Riley Foundation and Viscopy

A Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi man from the western New South Wales town of Dubbo, Michael Riley’s career as a photomedia artist and filmmaker began in Sydney in the early 1980s with elegant black and white portraits. In the early 1990s, Riley’s films and still photographs became conceptual and poetic rather than documentary works. They drew on aspects of his personal history, particularly the Christian teachings he encountered in early childhood on the Tralbalgar Aboriginal Reserve in Dubbo. In these later projects Riley used digital montage to conjoin Indigenous and European symbols.

The cloud series speaks to the history of Indigenous and European Australia. The title conveys associations of physical and spiritual lightness but also of the shadow Europeans shed over Aboriginal lives. The sequence begins with a cemetery angel, eyes seemingly averted from the mass deaths of Aboriginal people. This is followed by images of the wings of a native crow; a single feather with associations of Egyptian myth in which on judgement day one’s soul is weighed against a feather; the covers of a black Bible being tossed away or landing like an alien; a native locust in crucifix formation, recalling the Biblical plagues; a solid black cow standing for the displacement of Aboriginal lands by pastoralists (above); and a boomerang, symbolic of both flight and return/resurrection.

Angry protest was not Riley’s style—the final montage in the series of the angel’s wing sinking into the bottom of the picture presents a suspended image of hope or despair, depending on the viewer’s perspective.

Gael Newton


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Franchesca Cubillo and Wally Caruana (eds) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art: collection highlights National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2010

迈克尔·莱利 (Michael RILEY)
澳大利亚新南威尔士州悉尼
《无题,云系列[奶牛]》(Untitled, from the series cloud [cow])
2000年,2005年印
显色颜料印刷;Epson Stylus Pro 9600印纸
110.0(高) x 155(宽) 厘米
框裱(整体) 131.2 (高) x 177(宽) x 6.5(深) 厘米
2005年购买
收录号:NGA 2005.294.7

迈克尔·莱利是维拉杜里/卡米勒罗伊(Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi)人,来自新南威尔士州西部的达博(Dubbo)镇,1980年代初,在悉尼开始媒体摄影艺术家和电影制作人的职业生涯,拍摄优雅的黑白照片。1990年代初,迈克尔的电影当然还有照片不再是纪实作品,变得概念化,充满诗情画意。他的作品借鉴了其个人历史的要素,尤其是早年儿时在达博特罗波尔加土著人保留地(Tralbalgar Aboriginal Reserve)接受的基督教教义。更后来的项目中,莱利使用数字蒙太奇来接合土著与欧洲象征符号。

《云》系列讲述了土著澳大利亚和欧洲澳大利亚的历史。作品标题表达了身心愉快间的联系,但也表达了欧洲人给土著人生活带来的阴影。作品系列开始是墓地天使,目光貌似避开了群死的土著人。接下来是一只本地乌鸦的翅膀照片;单片羽毛联想到埃及神话,世界末日审判时,一个人的灵魂轻似鸿毛;黑色圣经的封面被处理掉或像外星人一样落地;一只十字架形的本地蝗虫,回忆圣经中的天罚;一头纯黑奶牛代表牧民取代原住民土地(上图);和一只飞去来器,既象征迁徙又象征回归/复活。

愤怒抗议不是莱利的风格;作品系列最后的蒙太奇是天使之翼坠落画面底部,代表悬而未决的希望或绝望意象,取决于观画人的视角。

Gael Newton
盖尔·牛顿


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra