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Elizabeth Stevenson, Visual Arts student of James Cook University reviews True Self: David Rosetzsky, Selected Works, currently showing at Cairns Regional Gallery, one of the many exhibitions that are part of the Queensland Festival of Photography 5.

One could not help but be engaged in True Self: David Rosetzsky, Selected Works, which opened at Cairns Regional Gallery on March 7, 2014. The Centre for Contemporary Photography & NETS Victoria touring exhibition curated by Naomi Cass and Kyla McFarlane, is an insightful and exciting blend of lens based works that delves into identities, subjectivity, relationships and interactions.

Living together is easy #3, 2002 lambda digital print on Fuji crystal archive  paper 64 x 93.5 cm each;  edition AP2 Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery,  Melbourne

Living together is easy #3, 2002
lambda digital print on Fuji crystal archive
64 x 93.5 cm each;
edition AP2
Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery,

Collaborating with professionals from the fields of theatre, dance, film and sound, Rosetzky has put together a selection of early portraits, some quite lengthy duration videos, photographs, photographic collages and sculptures which illuminate relationships between various aspects of his practice. He has exhibited widely throughout Australia and overseas and amongst his many accomplishments, was the winner of the inaugural Anne Landa Award for video and new media arts in 2005.

Rosetzky’s fascinating series of almost life –size photographic collage portraits Together Apart, 2008 immediately draw you in as you enter the gallery. His subjects avoid directly gazing at the lens and appear quite uncomfortable posing for the camera. Rosetzky has layered each portrait in a series of cut-outs and further investigation finds each individual blended and networked amongst each of the subjects: August, Crystal, Caroline, Kiah and Eden. Each one of his subjects incorporates features of the other, and gives an uneasy sense of loss of individuality at the same time as trying to emulate slick fashion photography images that represent ideals of identity and conformity.

As you delve further into the exhibition, you are invited to get comfortable on a series of seating in front of each video installation. Excellent quality sound headphones await you so that you can become totally engaged in each experience. And in most cases the comfort is required, as each video has considerable duration. This is an exhibition experience that demands your time, imagination and insight.

Portrait of Cate Blanchett, 2008 (still) single channel high definition digital video,  colour, sound 9 minutes, 56 seconds Courtesy the National Portrait Gallery,  Canberra Commissioned with funds provided by Ian  Darling, 2008

Portrait of Cate Blanchett, 2008 (still)
single channel high definition digital video,
colour, sound
9 minutes, 56 seconds
Courtesy the National Portrait Gallery,
Commissioned with funds provided by Ian
Darling, 2008

Portrait of Cate Blanchett 2008, single channel high definition digital video, colour, sound, 9 minutes, 56 seconds, David Rosetzky’s screen based portrait of Cate Blanchett, is a fascinating alternative exploration of the actors’ persona – I knew that I didn’t want to present the portrait as a definitive representation of Cate Blanchett- but rather an exploration of shifting identities and inter-changeability.”- Rosetzky in discussion with Christopher Chapman.

This portrait delves into the shifting layers of the artists roles and through a series of controlled and choreographed movements that take you on a journey, not of personality, but of roles and performance based character and control. It works as a unique perspective of the definition of portrait, and has in it just as many questions as there are answers.

Rosetzky’s earlier work Nothing like this (Autumn) single channel 16mm film transferred to digital video, colour 10 minutes, 53 seconds, is a contemplative piece; a man floats in a pool, relaxed and lost in his own speculative thoughts. We can see the figure but we cannot be a part of understanding the character and the man seems to not require our presence on any level, and yet there is a compelling feeling of wanting to be present and know more – to be the one lost in his introspective world and yet being unable to participate beyond the voyeuristic.

Having previously exhibited with artists of the calibre of Angelica Mestiti, whose work Rapture (silent anthem) 2209, high definition video, silent 10:10 minutes, also deals with relationships, Rosetzky follows his exploration of the experimental side of identity and observations of the process of relationships.


Installation view of True Self

The high definition digital video, Half Brother 2013, colour, sound 10 minutes, 9 seconds, which is David Rosetzky’s most recent work, is a fascinating journey for the viewer and refers to the Artist’s experience of dealing with his Father’s possessions after he died.

It takes the viewer through the sorting, dividing and layering process and explores the relationship between his Father’s career as a Graphic Designer and the similar daily processes of sorting that he dealt with while he was alive and the video becomes an interpretation of Rosetzky’s way of coping with dealing with his Father’s belongings. This piece is very experimental and explores anxiety, comfort, intimacy, and desire and can become quite uncomfortable for the spectator.

The life-size sculptural photographic installation Commune 2003 is an integral part of this exhibition. With each of the figures connected by a length of light rope, it reflects a continuing series of relationships and identities that flows throughout the entire exhibition. Rosetzky has maintained a fascination for exploring the nature of human interaction and sense of self throughout his career and this piece highlights his intentions albeit in a not so subtle way. His clever use of digital stills and video collaborations make this exhibition a rigorous journey indeed.

Overall, this exhibition has an intriguing sense of purpose, cohesiveness and has been extremely well curated. Be prepared to spend a lot of time here; there are several quite lengthy videos to engage with and contemplate. Some may leave you with more questions than answers. This high quality sight and sound experience is well worth the effort and runs until May 4th 2014.

For more information on the current and upcoming exhibitions, please visit the Cairns Regional Gallery website.
More of David’s work can be viewed here.

The Queensland Festival of Photography 5 has started, and will run for the whole of April 2014. For more information on other participating exhibitions and the events taking place in conjunction with QFP5, please visit the festival website.

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