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Untitled (Nick Cave in a blue wig) 2010
Media Release • 16 Jul 18

Polly Borland: Polyverse

28 September 2018 – 3 February 2019 | The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square | FREE

The National Gallery of Victoria will present an exhibition of new and recent work by renowned Australian artist Polly Borland, who is famed for her beguiling photographs of noted figures, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, musician Nick Cave and actress Gwendoline Christie.

The exhibition will include 60 works spanning the last 10 years and reveal Borland’s celebrated ability to render the body in alluring, enigmatic and surreal compositions, often inviting the viewer to see the human form in unfamiliar ways.

A new tapestry work of Borland’s celebrated photograph of The Queen, taken for Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, will be a highlight of the exhibition. Created in collaboration with Fine Cell Work, an English prisoner’s advocacy organisation that trains prisoners to undertake paid, skilled needlework from their cells, this large-scale tapestry will be shown for the first time double-sided, allowing viewers to admire both the composition and highly skilled construction of the work.

The exhibition will also include works from several of Borland’s recent series, including Bunny, in which Gwendoline Christie’s distorted figure is used to subvert the idea of a Playboy bunny girl, and the carnivalesque Smudge featuring Nick Cave, in which her subjects – disguised by garish wigs, stockings and make-up – oscillate between the masculine and feminine, fantasy and reality.

In a mesmerising large-scale display, Borland will showcase a new series of large lenticular works, taking the illusive quality of her portraits to new, three-dimensional scales. Borland will also unveil a never-before-seen body of new work that has been created especially for the NGV exhibition.

‘Borland shoots on film, taking many rolls to achieve the final images, and never altering the works in post-production. The works reveal Borland’s finely crafted skill for capturing uncanny moments that stretch our understanding of the human body,’ said Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV.

Polly Borland is on display from 28 September 2018 – 3 February 2019 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square. Entry is FREE. Further information is available from the NGV website: NGV.MELBOURNE

About Polly Borland
Polly Borland was born in Melbourne in 1959. After studying at Prahran College in 1983, she relocated to England in 1989 and to Los Angeles in 2011. She established herself as a portrait photographer in Australia before shooting for numerous international publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Independent and Dazed and Confused. Borland won the John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award in 1994, and the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award in 2017. In 2001 she was one of the eight photographers selected to photograph the Queen for her Golden Jubilee. Her first book The Babies was published by Powerhouse in 2001 and included an essay by the late Susan Sontag. In 2013, a documentary on the artist and her work, entitled Polymorphous, directed by Alex Chomicz, aired on ABC Television, Australia in March 2013.

Borland’s work is in public and private collections including The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra; The Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart; and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

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