The mirror] makes this place that I occupy at the moment when I look at myself in the glass at once absolutely real, connected with all the space that surrounds it, and absolutely unreal, since in order to be perceived it [the site] has to pass through this virtual point which is over there.
—Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces”
Within the AC [Chapel] and along the AC [Direct] exterior walls are two site-specific installations by Australian artist John R. Neeson. Northern Light and Fugitive Light are based on the architecture, variations
of light and light sources within the AC galleries. Through precise
compositions of actual and painted representations of mirrors,
Neeson creates mimetic representations of fragments within the
internal and external spaces. Each installation requires the passage of the observer through it in order to complete the work.
In Northern Light, parallel lines of beveled, rectangular mirrors alternating
with tromp l’oeil representations of these mirrors, are placed on opposite walls of the AC [Chapel]. The mirrors reflect the light and architecture of the space as well as each other, while the painted representations replicate the mirrors they replace within the line. The installation fluctuates between a phenomenological and visual experience
of his work and the space it occupies.
Located on the AC [Direct] exterior walls is Fugitive Light. In this installation, circular, concave mirrors sequentially reflect and distort aspects of the area and variations in the lux of it’s illumination and surrounding structures. The work is fluid, illusive, transitory and like all Neeson’s installations, specific to the site and impossible to duplicate
Expanding upon the traditions associated with still life, landscape and portraiture, Neeson challenges reality and illusion creating an ambiguous relationship between the art and the role of the spectator.
His work is influenced by the enigmatic and complex paintings
The Portrait of Giovanni(?) Arnolfini and his Wife (‘The Arnolfini
Portrait’) (1434) by Jan Van Eyck and Diego Velasquez’s Las Meninas (1656).
John R. Neeson lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. He has a PhD from Monash University (Melbourne) and completed post-graduate work at Royal College of Art (London). He has completed 27 venue-specific installations since 1993, in addition to numerous solo shows and major group exhibitions in Europe, U.K, Middle East and throughout Australia including Museum of Modern Art at Heide (Melbourne), Royal College of Art (London), Centre for theArts (Hobart), University of Sydney, World’s Fair (Seville), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne), Museum of Contemporary
Art (Brisbane), Gasworks (London), Fondazione Bevilaqua La Masa (Venice), Student Cultural Centres (Belgrade and Zagreb), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Chameleon Contemporary Art Space (Hobart), Australian Embassy (Paris), University of Sharjah (U.A.E) and TarraWarra Museum of Art (Victoria).
He has received multiple residencies and awards including Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship and grants from Royal College of Art (London), Australia Council (Sydney), University of Tasmania (Hobart) and University of Ballarat (Victoria).
Collections include: Art Bank (Sydney), National Gallery of Victoria, Australian National Gallery (Canberra), University of Tasmania,
Geelong Art Gallery, University of Melbourne, University of Ballarat, City of Port Phillip and Mornington Regional Gallery (Victoria), Bundanon Trust (New South Wales).