Patrick Pound (born 1962, Auckland) is a New Zealand artist based in Melbourne who obsessively collects old photographs, and assembles them in idiosyncratic clusters, where odd and unexpectedly common subjects emerge. His work has the look of having been made by someone who has set out to try and explain the world and who, having failed, has been reduced to collecting it.
This exhibition presents three of Pound’s collections, each finding fun in our collective oddities, while revealing sweeping, awkward truths about real lives and real feelings.
One of Pound’s categories gives the exhibition its name, People who look dead but (probably) aren’t. It’s a hopeful title that describes a collection of fallen, frail, tired looking souls, who in coming together, give each other a new and unexpected life. It’s Pound’s use of ‘probably’ that makes this work so funny and so perplexing. Where a car crash leaves a man slumped behind the wheel, and a woman is face down on a tennis court, we're also faced with an uncomfortable incomprehension: can we laugh or should we not?
In his other works too, Pound reveals that the magic of found photos is in their genuine ambiguity. While we might normally look first to faces for clues of context and character, People from behind, gives us little more to go by than pairs of slacks and cuts of suit. And although it might seem at first like a good excuse to carefully consider other peoples’ backsides, the work also brings our own proclivity for storytelling and snap judgments to the fore.
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