Phantom Bid

A Catalog of Appearances

Phantom Bid work is an exercise in cinematic archaeology, in summoning forth the ghosts of Hollywood’s past through the scant evidence of a single document. The imagery that made up this installation was drawn from a catalogue of movie memorabilia that was put up for auction by 20th Century Fox in February 1971.  If there is a logic to be detected in this collection of images it is one that sits somewhere in the space between commerce and representation: a very Hollywood kind of logic. Movie stills, studio promotional shots and lifeless purpose-taken catalogue images sit side by side, all appealing to the veracity of the featured object as an integral component in the creation of the illusionary space of cinema. Look, this is the chair that Tyrone Power lent upon, this the bottle from which Bogart’s shaking lips imbibed. But there is another meaning that shadows these objects. Collectively they represent the dismantling of the studio-system of production that once dominated Hollywood.  Each object acts as a kind of historical footnote to the passing of an era and a particularly resilient form of pictorial hegemony. Freed of the context of the catalogue they take on an enigmatic and negotiable quality, floating signifiers that at once speak of the history of moving images while refusing to yield more that their own blank strangeness.

Phantom Bid was exhibited as part of the group exhibition The Sceptical Image which was held at the Sydney College of the Arts Gallery, August 1-30 2014. The video component of the work was subsequently shown in LA Connection at Winslow Garage, Los Angeles in October 2014.

Click here to view a detailed list of the works.

Phantom Bid Installation view. Pigment prints on archival cotton rag paper mounted on Alupanel, various dimensions.
Phantom Bid Installation view. HD video with stereo soundtrack, 8 min 178 secs. Pigment prints on archival cotton rag paper mounted on Alupanel, various dimensions.