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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

David Chalmers

2011
Nick Mourtzakis

oil on canvas (support: 183 cm x 122 cm)

David Chalmers (b.1966), philosopher, excelled at mathematics at the University of Adelaide in the 1980s and developed a fascination with consciousness and the mind. Consciousness can be described as the sense of awareness, through mental images and thoughts, of being in the world. Presently Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University, Chalmers is interested in determining fundamental principles that connect physical processes to consciousness. His books define current debates on the subject. In his work Chalmers demonstrates attentiveness to the important role played by our individual subjective experience of the world. He maintains an abiding interest in neuroscience and the psychology of consciousness.

The delicate nature of Chalmers’s ideas and the clarity of his writing suggested to artist Nick Mourtzakis the necessity of creating a portrait that captures the non-physical quality of thought.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned 2011
© Nick Mourtzakis

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Nick Mourtzakis (age 60 in 2011)

David Chalmers (age 45 in 2011)

Subject professions

Education and research

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

David Chalmers

'Consciousness, iPhones and philosophical zombies'

Portrait story

Professor David Chalmers explains his interest in philosophy and introduces some of his theories on the conscious mind.

Divide (Self portrait)
Divide (Self portrait)
Divide (Self portrait)
Divide (Self portrait)

Dissections

Layered portraits from the collection

Previous exhibition, 2016

This display sets two impressive portraits from the collection into direct dialogue: Sam Jinks’ sculptural self portrait and Nick Mourtzakis’ painted portrait of David Chalmers, along with related maquette and sketches.Together they explore physical and psychological manifestations of the strata of self-hood.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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