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Arcadia media information

31 July 2014

National Portrait Gallery Director Angus Trumble and Chair Dr Helen Nugent invite media to preview the exhibition Arcadia: Sound of the sea at the National Portrait Gallery on Wednesday 13 August, 11.00am. Arcadia: Sound of the sea brings together 40 photographs by John Witzig, co-founder of Tracks magazine and founder of SeaNotes; juxtaposed with seven large ink drawings by Sydney based artist Nicholas Harding, and film footage from Albert Falzon’s Morning of the Earth.

In the first issue of Tracks Nat Young wrote ‘By simply surfing we are supporting the revolution’. Reflecting the perspective of John Witzig’s publications and their treatment of Australian politics; religion; environmental conservation; and alternatives to conformist ways of living, the statement underpins the visualised conception of freedom and potential reflected in the exhibition’s carefree images of young surfers. National Portrait Gallery Historian and exhibition Curator Dr Sarah Engledow offers that Arcadia ‘...is expressive of the free-spirited, passive-revolutionary character of a group of Australian surfers in the age of conscription to Vietnam.’

Witzig’s photographs will be newly-printed to unprecedented size. Five sections from Falzon’s 1972 film channel dreams of an untrammelled lifestyle. Harding’s intricate drawings are a natural fit with the texture of the photographs and share their vigorous, yet gentle, sensibility. Together the photographs, film and drawings evoke textures and odours: salt and fresh water, wet and dry sand, dune vegetation, undergrowth, tent canvas, floors of vans and shacks, hand-knitted jumpers, corduroy, spongy neoprene, stiff hair, dog fur, firewood, seaweed and rocks.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue comprising reproductions of photographs and drawings from the exhibition, new short pieces and excerpts from Tracks of 1970-1972 and SeaNotes of 1977-1978.

Arcadia: Sound of the sea will be displayed at the Gallery from 14 August to 19 October 2014 and will subsequently tour to Geelong Gallery, Victoria and Tweed Regional Art Gallery in NSW.

Arcadia exhibition preview Wednesday 13 August 2014 11.00am
Dr Engledow, John Witzig, Nicholas Harding and Gallery Director
Angus Trumble will be available for interview.