Of the Coding Series

Di ffrench, Artist

This is one of the photographs in our collection. It was made in New Zealand in 1991.
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Object Detail

About the Work
Photographing 'The Body'
The photographic projects that ffrench had incorporated into her performances and associated installations became the foundation for the black and white photographs and cibachromes that she turned to in the mid eighties. 'Since 1980', the artist explained, 'I have been working with sculptural installations in conjunction with photographs: the action being specifically structured for the camera, so that the photograph is the prime repository of meaning rather than a subsidiary of the main event'. Common to all of her work in this medium was ffrench's preoccupation with 'The Body', one of the key issues with which early feminism dealt. Although ffrench is only mentioned in passing here, she like Christine Webster, Margaret Dawson, Merylyn Tweedie, Megan Jenkinson and Fiona Pardington was central to this preoccupation with the body by women. As a distinctive group, these photographers challenged prevailing notions of gender (both male and female) and sought to provide new conceptual frameworks.
'Di ffrench Projects 1990-1992', was a significant show mounted in Dunedin that concentrated on the artist's series of this period 'Hunter/Warrior', 'Coding', 'Taking Possession' and 'The Life Drawing Class' as well as the work 'The Idea Becomes Extinct'. In her characteristically articulate fashion, ffrench explained that her use of the camera and treatment of the body resulted in photographs that 'are not photomontage. They are made by a lengthy process of photographing light and illusion, using materials with refractive qualities. Jillian Lloyd's essay in the accompanying publication explains how ffrench had previously achieved a synchronicity between performance, installation and photography. As Lloyd notes ffrench 'cuts and splices photographs, sometimes superimposing line drawings on them, and re-photographs them. She projects the resulting images as black and white transparencies onto studio arrangements of coke breeze, coal, pigments, stones, dried leaves, and so on, and re-photographs the assemblages to create large cibachromes'."
- Anne Kirker, Di ffrench: Activating Ideas. A Survey of Selected Works 1977-1997, published 2009 by Dunedin Public Art Gallery
950 x 1050 mm (check)
Cibachrome print
This work is part of the 'Coding Series'. It is a large format cibachrome photograph that has been framed and glazed. The cibachrome print is screwed onto a black backing board within the black frame. The image shows a female nude with her right arm bent and raised, standing under an archway. There are several more archways in the image as well as a curtain within the lefthand arch. The background of the photograph has cracks across it. The image is predominantly in deep blues with dark edges and gold around the right-hand archway. The photograph is formed via projection of an image onto a rough cracked surface which was then photographed, creating a myriad of effects within the image.
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased with the generous assistance of Murray and Denise Lazelle, 2020
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date
28 Oct 2020



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