Leisureland is the result of two-and-a-half years’ work by well-known photomedia artist Anne Zahalka. Her new work investigates the central place of leisure, sport and entertainment within Australian culture through a series of hyper-real photographic images taken from real locations. Focusing on theme parks, entertainment centres, shopping arcades, indoor rock climbing gyms, museums, aquariums, video parlours, cinemas, and sporting complexes, these photographs document the artificial nature of these environments and reflect on our fascination with them.
‘Nature’ and ‘the real world’ are simulated to differing degrees within these constructed spaces, creating an experience for the visitor of being ‘elsewhere,’ both real and unreal. As the visitor moves through, or looks into these illusory worlds, the authenticity of these environments is critical to his or her appreciation and experience of it. The photographs examine our relationship to leisure and provide a record of some of its ritualised forms. Zahalka presents the fantastic diversity of commodified leisure and considers the formidable industry it has become.
Anne Zahalka has, for a number of years, investigated cultural, social and historical imagery through her photographs. These include her re-readings of Australian Impressionist paintings and Dutch interiors; her portraits of Bondi archetypes; and her series of domestic scenes, Open House. Zahalka has shown consistently both in Australia and internationally, with her work held in most major public collections in Australia, as well as New Zealand and the U.S. Recent exhibitions include Journeys in the Dream World at ffotogallery in Cardiff, Wales, and a solo exhibition at Robert Sandelson Gallery, London.
This project has been assisted by the Australia Council from the Visual Arts/Crafts Fund. The exhibition will be shown at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery from 3 – 20 May, and a regional tour will begin at the Manly Art Gallery in August 2000.