NZ photographer stars in major Paris exhibition

Published: Fri 2 Nov 2007 02:06 PM
New Zealand photographer stars in major Paris exhibition
An exhibition by Wellington photographer Anne Noble is a major exhibition in
the inaugural arts biennale Photoquai 2007 just opened in Paris.
The Quai Branly Museum is presenting Noble¹s highly acclaimed depiction of
childhood Ruby¹s Room as its contemporary contribution to the new biennale,
which is focused primarily on photography from artists living outside
Europe. Photoquai has been timed to coincide with Paris Photo ­ the world¹s
premier art fair for photography.
Three new exhibitions at the Quai Branly Museum aim to draw attention to the
museum¹s relationship with photography and its major collection of more than
700,0000 photographs. Noble¹s exhibition is positioned alongside a show of
East African daguerreotypes (an early type of photograph) and photographs of
African art taken by Walker Evans, considered the finest American
documentary photographer of the twentieth century. The exhibitions run until
Noble, who has exhibited widely throughout New Zealand and Australia, has
also exhibited in Spain and Germany but this is the first time her work has
been seen in France. The Museum¹s showing of 28 large-scale photographs from
Ruby¹s Room, and production of a 64-page monograph, is major recognition for
the New Zealand artist who is in Paris for the opening of the exhibition.
³It¹s very affirming to have been selected and a huge opportunity to expand
the audience for my work,² Noble says.
Ruby¹s Room is a distinctive, original and complicated distillation of
childhood. Developed in collaboration with her daughter Ruby between 1998
-2007, it challenges conventional depictions of childhood creating a
catalogue of the things children do with their mouths. Noble has described
her project ³an alternative archaeology of childhood².
³In taking these photographs, Noble has not flinched. She has resisted any
motherly temptation to gently tug the hair from Ruby¹s mouth, or to wipe the
lolly stains from her chin. She does not chide her daughter as she opens her
mouth to show her mother the half-dissolved contents of her mouth. She
records these small moments of play, from close range and in lurid colour,
giving them a startling monumentality. Instead it is the viewer who winces
as we are confronted with this child¹s mouth writ large, an intrusion into
our notions of what a representation of a child should be.²
[Kyla McFarlane, 2004. The line between us: the maternal relation in
contemporary photography. Monash University, Museum of Art, Melbourne.]
Anne Noble is one of New Zealand¹s most respected photographers. A major
survey of her work States of Grace toured New Zealand from 2001-3. Her most
recent work investigates the representation of Antarctica.

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