‘The camera doesn’t do anything by itself – photographs show what people look at and reveal their inner agenda.’ (Thomas Struth, German photographer, 2011)
ACT-based photo media artist Cathy Laudenbach is no stranger to the NT having previously been a lecturer at Charles Darwin University and developed projects within the NT (including series such Alone on the Stuart Highway. Looking for Peter Falconio, and Roadhouses). Her latest exhibition, Landscapes of Desire, for NCCA’s Gallery 1, takes China, Austria, and tourism as its subjects through her focus on the 5th century UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Hallstatt, Austria, and its constructed tourist-destination copy in Louyang, Boluo County, central China. ‘The world is not the lonely planet it was’, writes Laudenbach, ‘and we don’t need a guidebook to navigate’. Through her photographs of tourists in the act of photographing, at the ‘real’ Hallstatt and its copy-town, Laudenbach examines how the tourist experience of a place is mediated and, more broadly, how we image/imagine the world today.
Cathy Laudenbach has exhibited widely in Australia including in major public photography galleries such as the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, and the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney. Her work has also been exhibited internationally in Japan, Germany and New Zealand. A winner of the prestigious Olive Cotton Portrait Prize in 2000, Laudenbach has a Master of Visual Arts from the ANU School of Art, Canberra, and she is a current PhD student at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Her work is held in numerous public collections including the Australian National Library, Bathurst Regional Gallery, The Tweed River Gallery, and the Canberra Museum and Gallery.
Cathy Laudenbach, ‘Untitled’, Hallstatt See, China, 2014, from the ‘Landscapes of Desire’ series, 2014; digital print; image courtesy the artist