Installation view of Christopher Day's work <em>In history,</em>2022 on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023.    Image: Sean Fennessy

Christopher Day

Christopher Day
(b. 1978, Melbourne. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Christopher Day takes analogue photographs daily that he develops and scans himself, amassing an expansive archive over time. This personal collection of images forms the basis of Day’s process-based practice, where photographs are reworked into complex collages, mixing digital and analogue techniques, which he describes as ‘a reflective examination of our material world’.

In history, 2022, is Day’s largest photo-collage to date. Psychedelic and surreal, it actively resists tendencies to read documentary photography through a narrative lens. Where Day’s past work has tended towards sly humour and the absurd, documenting and interpreting uncanny moments taken from everyday life and popular culture, In history is condensed to the point of high abstraction. Subjects like cut flowers are interwoven with a previous artwork from his 2013 series Permanent Deferral (held in the NGV Collection), merging traces of life, memory and the unconscious in allegorical worlds. In recent years he has also started incorporating hand-painting into his images, here employing acrylic and watercolour. Day describes his work as ‘deliberately ambiguous, compressed images that function through layers of meaning, [which] do not adhere to a shared or common knowledge of references or source materials’.

A self-taught artist, Day has been exhibiting his unique photographs and photo-collages in group and solo exhibitions in Melbourne since 2002, with recent solo shows at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Utopian Slumps and LON Gallery (as part of PHOTO 2021 International Festival of Photography). His work has previously appeared at the NGV in Lurid Beauty: Australian Surrealism and its Echoes (2015) and the first Melbourne Now (2013). He has also exhibited extensively in Sydney, Perth and Hobart, as well as in the United Kingdom and Italy. Day’s work is in the public collections of the NGV, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Art Gallery of Western Australia.