Suicide; and source material (1988 and earlier) [W/P]

Suicide (1988) [W_P]#BCDA

Synthetic polymer paint on 2 sheets of paper, 172.2 x 122.2; source material in framed panel, 122.1 x 86.4

Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth [1989/0192.a and b]

An installation slide in Arkley’s files (reproduced here; also reproduced in Spray 63 and Carnival Fig.4.23, but unfortunately in each case back to front) shows the original ensemble as exhibited in Arkley’s ‘Casual Works’ show at 200 Gertrude Street, May 1988. The material was shown in similar form in Brisbane later in the year (IMA installation photos).

The central work, reprising Suicide (1983) (in reverse), prompted Juliana Engberg, in her review of ‘Casual Works’ for Agenda, to speculate on the main figure as ‘the famous “Skipping Girl” of our urban childhood… dislodged from her pedestal,… a fallen angel, a metaphor for Arkley’s shattered past, simultaneously a homage to the urban kitsch we feel secure with’.

The source material included a ‘Wonder Woman’ figure posed to mimic the falling woman, and images of high-rise buildings (including the source for Arkley’s High Rise St Kilda Road 1986). For an installation photo from the 2006-7 Arkley retrospective (including a view of the source material in its current framed format), see the main entry for the 1988 exhibition.

Provenance

  • Purchased for AGWA 1989

Exhibited

  • HA ‘Casual Works’, 1988 (i and ii)
  • HA retrospective 2006-7 (i and ii; Melbourne only)

Literature

  • Engberg, ‘Circumstantial Evidence’ (1988): ‘Casual Works’ exh. review: quoted above, inc. ill. of ensemble (upside down)
  • Spray 63 (inc. B&W ill.; reversed)
  • Day 2005: 148
  • Carnival Fig.4.23 (reversed)