The artist, Melbourne
Private collection, Melbourne
"Bill Henson: Three Decades of Photography", Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 8 January-3 April 2005; National Gallery of Victoria, 23 April-10 July 2005
'Bill Henson: Mnemosyne', Scalo, Berlin, Zurich, New York, 2005, illustrated p. 347
The 'Untitled 1987/88' series were all taken in New York and Los Angeles, exposing through Henson's interpretation, the night-life and/or low-life of each city. Powerful night images of Los Angeles' expansive lights, the neon flashing lights of girlie bars and Eros cinemas, prostitutes, Time Square and generally figures caught unknowingly exposing their vulnerability to Henson's eye.
It is interesting to note that the cut-screens are not torn but are cut. As Isobel Crombie notes 'This implies consideration and precision rather than the rhetorical flourish of a rip. To emphasise the absence of capriousness in this act, it is only necessary to look at the careful eye for composition and different cutting techniques in these works. Although this cut paper creates a potential chaos, there is a satisfying unity between the various components of the overall work that connects with the similarly fragmented photographic narratives. The cut shapes are integral players in the overall drama of the work, accentuating moods evoked by the actions of the figures or of a dramatic light effect. Sometimes these shapes operate as punctuation points, dividing the planes of the picture; sometimes they are jagged, suggestive of violence; and at other times they have a more tender quality, softly tumbling down the image.' (I Crombie 'Untitled' in 'The Photographs of Bill Henson', Bill Henson, Melbourne, 1995, p.13).
The work is a unique work from a series of 19 collage pieces that were based on images taken in New York and Los Angeles