Bill Henson1955 - Paris Opera Project 1990-91 1990-91
- Type C colour photograph
As a medium, photography is noted for its 'honesty', in that it implies certain pictorial facts. Further implicit in this is that photography captures forever a fleeting moment in time.
Bill Henson pushes at these fundamental photographic concepts by presenting us with immense, painterly and at once ephemeral images. The dark photographs, coupled with their perspex glazing (the artist's choice), render the works difficult to view in entirety: indeed, we see as much of the image itself as we do of our environment and ourselves.
The Paris Opera Series, which includes Romantic landscapes juxtaposed with portraits of opera patrons, serves to remind us of our own transient existence foiled by the sublimity of the natural world. The pathos of the landscape is both emphasised and dissipated by the vanity of the opera goers; in them we can quite literally see our own reflections.
© Bill Henson