Trust Contemporary: Barwon Park Reimagined—National Trust Victoria (2022)
5 x tinted Perspex vitrines, containing various objects from the collection of Elizabeth Austin.
Perspex cases: 600mm x 250mm x 250mm in red, blue, green, and frosted white.
Wooden bases: 900mm x 250mm x 250mm. Object dimensions variable.
Elizabeth Austin’s items: a skirt-clip, ivory notebook, 5 x hymn books, wedding and mourning veil, and christening cup.
'The reputation that I hold' is a site-responsive installation that uses display modes to shift objects beyond their original context and into new spaces of tension. The chosen objects from Elizabeth Austin's private collection serve as placeholders in the retelling of her story. As objects that are rarely displayed, the artist is interested in their potential to expose new narratives around her life beyond what we already know.
The vitrines reference the building's grand entrance hall, including the stained-glass windows and Greco-Roman columns, emphasizing their minimalism in opposition to the Classical, Victorian architecture. The objects encased in tinted Perspex encourage the viewer to encounter Elizabeth in a new light, obscuring, obstructing, and distorting their viewing. The installation is placed in the hallway passage, a transitional and non-functional, 'in-between' space. This hallway separated the Austin's and their help, operating as a space between classes, but also between the public and private self, and a means for getting from one place to another. The reputation that I hold interrupts viewers with an unexpected encounter that reimagines the life of things, embracing the spaces between: ocular-cognitive, truth-fiction, access-restriction, public-private, and in terms of the collection and what is shown-stored.