is an unusual exhibition for Wanda Michalak in several ways. One of
these is, undoubtedly, that this will probably be the last of her
exhibitions that she will curate herself personally at the Gallery WM
in the foreseeable future. Moreover, it is the last exhibition – in a
long line of exhibitions, spanning exactly ten years – that will be
organised by her and Paul before handing over the reigns of
gallery-operations to me and Nahuel Blaton. In fact, “Ten’ celebrates
10 years of WM’s existence under her auspices.
Thus, it marks an end to her curatorial activities at WM as well as a
beginning. Not only as a beginning of new management of the Gallery she
started, but also the beginning of a new life at one of the world’s
symbolic extremities; Australia.
The current exhibition, I think, reflects this period of transformation
or, as we anthropologists like to call it, this ‘liminal phase’.
Without going into the particularities of each individual photograph,
the exhibition as a whole seems, in essence, to be a quest for
perfection. Perhaps even a quest for a ‘Tabula Rasa’. We have already
encountered this search for an unaltered, untainted and pristine world
in Michalak’s ongoing series; ‘World Watching’. Whereas ‘World
Watching’ incorporated the (her own) naked body into the captured
landscapes - an imagination of how the world would ‘feel’ at the very
beginning of humanity’s tentative steps and subsequent immersion into
Terra Incognita - “Ten” leaves out the human corpus altogether. “Ten”
seems to be, rather unsettlingly, an imagination of being on the brink,
the edge of a precipice of the unknown, the last vestige of Terra Firma
before the Great Leap.
“Ten” then, is more than just the sum of its individual imageries.
Images – to be sure – resonant with beauty, poetry and a transcendental
aesthetic. Rather, it is a vista of a New World. A world not yet
peopled by visions and versions of the Self. A world not yet
appropriated, not yet embodied. A world that has yet to be explored.
We, the recipients of Wanda’s imagination and Paul’s perseverance, wish
them both the very best and the most of luck in their explorations to