ANNE ZAHALKA is one of Australia's most respected photographic artists. She has held more than 40 solo exhibitions and been curated into over 140 group exhibitions including Leisureland at the Australian Embassy in Washington, 2007; Three Australian Photographers: Bill Henson, Tracey Moffatt and Anne Zahalka, GEM/Fotomuseum, Den Haag, The Netherlands, 2007; Supernatural Artificial at the Chulalangkorn Art Centre, Bangkok, Thailand (2005) and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, 2004, and Photographica Australis exhibited at the Sala del Canal de Isabel II in Madrid, Spain and travelled Asia, 2003. Zahalka has consistently and consciously explored the conventions of documentary photography and its claims to represent the truth.
Through her career Anne has worked on different series. She collates her imagery from tourist brochures and personal photographs taken on her travels and continues her research into the peculiar notion that “tourists experience the natural world as a spectacle, as if nature is a performing thing that we can visit like an attraction.” She sensitively inserts artificial elements that could not naturally co-exist. Anne prompts the viewer to question and reconsider what we see.
Her reputation as a significant artist was secured with the Resemblance series, produced In 1986 during a residency at the Kunstlehaus in Berlin. A series of costume dramas, it also borrows knowingly from the canon of art history. One of its key images, Marriage of Convenience, is based directly on The Arnolfini Portrait (1434) by Jan van Eyck, a painting that is extensively reproduced and valued for its realism and symbolism. Zahalka loosely mimis the poses and draps of the original and its famous convex mirror is replaced with a large silver ball in the foreground providing a reflection of the room, but the portrait is also a modern image of two artist married for very contemporary visa related reasons, reflected in the full title of the work. Contemporary details such as a radio and camera remind us that this is a conscious play upon histories of representation.
In 2007-08 a major retrospective Hall of Mirrors: Anne Zahalka Portraits 1987 – 2007 was opened at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne and toured to the National Portrait Gallery; Warrnambool Art Gallery; Ipswich Art Gallery and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.
Anne Zahalka is represented in major national and international collections including National Gallery of Australia; Art Gallery of New South Wales; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; Australian Bicentennial Collection; National Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Parliament House, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria; Sir Elton John Collection; Deutsche Bank Collection; International Polaroid Collection, USA; Visart, New York and numerous other regional galleries, universities and private collections in Australia and internationally.
Visi Anne Zahalka's website.