Lani Seligman: Marrow Land: Salon Projects

27 May - 15 July 2021

Sarah Scout Presents is delighted to present an exhibition of new photographic work by Melbourne-based artist Lani Seligman in the gallery Salon. 


Marrow Land draws together found and constructed imagery that weave together a shifting assemblage of landscapes, drawings and objects. ‘Etch A Sketch’ is a series of black and white prints that recomposes early colony sketches. A sketchbook by Eliezer Levi Montefiore records visits to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney during 1852–1853. Along with finished works the book also contains many incomplete drawings and smudged blank pages. The sketches are out of copyright and are made available by the State Library of Victoria. These incomplete sketches are digitally inverted and made into full scale contact negatives. Objects are then placed over the top of the contact sheets to recompose the images as a series of complex photograms. An ethereal trace of the original paper emerges through the Silver Gelatin print. It’s a direct vestige of its colonial origins and many of the objects are themselves steeped in imperialism. 


The images consist of quirky, understated and at times humorous reorientations – a cracking plinth, paperwork floating away, a man toppling off a teapot, a flag raised in surrender. They are a series of imagined micro ‘topplings’ that probe their colonial heritage and ask for the past to be seen anew, no longer fixed in their archive. The title of the series also suggests these images may need to be wiped clean again and again so they can continue to be recomposed. These works probe the historical ramifications of living in this marrow land and what it means to inherit and be complicit in its colonial past and present. 


‘Fire Flights’ ride the nexus between photography and painting. The found images are digitally altered and cloned (sometimes using multiple images) and erase almost all referential detail until they become more like paintings than photographs. Yet they retain enough detail that they also remain anchored within the photographic. The images are printed on watercolour paper and parts of the surface are hand painted with liquid charcoal and watercolour. This suite of work responds to the 2020 bush fires in Australia, and reflects on these landscapes in a beautifully ambiguous way.