Monday, August 6, 2018

Finding Familiar States: Baldessin Press and the State Library of Victoria

Exterior view of the State Library of Victoria

A week ago I had my first extended days of becoming familiar with both of the spaces I will frequent over the course of the next 12 months. My time at the State Library of Victoria was divided between a formal induction into the procedures and methods for investigating the archival materials as well as learning to navigate the mirrors of space that were somewhat overwhelming at times. Walking from my office/studio space and standing below the expanse of the dome in a vacant main entrance room after closing time was the moment I realised how special my time at the library would be. I feel rather spoilt with the allocation of an assistant from the library's pictures collection to help me access the collection.This provides such a crucial element in finding a starting point to my project.
My early beginnings have swayed towards studying the photographic images of early Melbourne. It extends an on going intrigue with the photographic image and all that it invokes. On my flight down I took a book of collective essays of Susan Sontag. Her reflections on the photographic image were so astute that despite the arrival of the digital and virtual format of the photographic image her views remain poetically insightful. During this initial visit I viewed a series of early photographic images from the carte de vista collection which were essentially a handheld size photographic calling card popular in the 1800's.     

Interior view of the State Library of Victoria

My visit to Baldessin Press at St. Andrews was also a way of becoming familiar with how the studio space operates. Both Tess and studio technician Silvi, a wonderful printmaker in her own right, were very generous with their time and 'space' as it was a busy few days for the studio. I did manage to have 'a play' with a series of monotypes. Thankfully I have learnt to recognise what one needs to discard. But I enjoyed the play.
My feelings towards being in the space where George Baldessin once printed and to have his works floating within the same interior spaces was simply a reality that I never thought possible. So my unfolding time at Baldessin Press is not so much a dream come true but a reality that crosses over into dreaming. 

Baldessin Press: Interior (1)

Baldessin Press: Interior (2)

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