People

Fiona Hall – Artist profile

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Image courtesy of LOST AT E MINOR.

Fiona Margaret Hall is renowned in Australia and internationally as a leading contemporary artist who emerged initially as a photographer in the 1970s. However, her passion for the arts didn’t stop there, as she pursued a diverse range of art forms including sculpture, painting, installation, garden design and video . At first glance, it’s quite apparent that her work resembles an organic feel, as she continuously explores the relationship between nature and culture in new and fascinating ways.

The materials that Hall implements are critical to her art, as she transforms ordinary objects to address contemporary and current issues like globalisation, consumerism, colonialism and natural history. Some her pieces resemble a delicate quality, yet others are strikingly contrasting, with a dynamic and eerie feel – perhaps to capture deeper connotations about the world in which we live.

Her most well known work is her sardine can series, Paradisus Terrestris, which first appeared in 1990. The three-part series depicts an intersection of plant and human culture, as each half-opened can reveals a part of the naked human body, while the plant sprouts from the top to magnify this correlation of nature vs. human nature. Hall’s career spans four decades. She is a reputably known contemporary artist who is studied by visual arts students worldwide. Likewise, Hall also teaches as a means of furthering her art knowledge and expertise. She is represented in every major public art collection in Australia and exhibits regularly in Australia and overseas.

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PARADISUS TERRESTRIS – Image courtesy of National Gallery of Victoria

Hall was born in 1953 in Sydney’s southern suburb of Oatley, a natural environment which has impacted her artistic process along the way. Her love for art was evident from a young age, as she enrolled in a Diploma of Painting but later moved toward photography, instigating her pursuit into experimental art that immediately impacted her work on a positive level. Manipulated photography incorporated this combination of using diverse objects and art forms, stemming onto sculpture and installation that brought about more complex themes and modern day notions. During the 1990s, Hall’s attention turned to contemporary life,  investigating issues like consumption, politics and trade to the environment, nature, paradise and the body with the use of everyday materials.

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Medicine Bundles for the non-born child (1993) – Image courtesy of Rosly Noxley9 Gallery, Sydney.

An example of this is her piece Medicine bundle for the non-born child, 1993-94, made from aluminium, rubber, plastic layette comprising matinee jacket. As she delves into aspects of social and political implications of trade, she addresses notions of ‘nurturing within our consumer society’. She references Coca – Cola, as a means of cultural imperialism.

As you can see, Hall has played a large role in the movement of contemporary art in Australia, exploring a diverse range of artistic mediums whilst addressing critical and complex notions that exist within our own reality.

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