New Zealand Playing Cards

Cauchi, Ben
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Ben Cauchi’s photographic practice examines the enigmatic nature of photography, investigating the space between empirical ‘truth’ and the intangible.

Cauchi uses wet-plate photographic processes that date back to the mid-19th century Enlightenment and invention of photography, when science and spiritualism swept public interest, and colonisation of assumedly unchartered lands was in full swing.

Part of Building the Empire, a suite of 10 photographs, these four studio-staged images depict symbols of gambling, forest clearing, branding, and ancient taonga, re-constructing histories. Loaded Palm offers the artist’s own hand as visual evidence of branding, Cauchi referencing an 1845 daguerreotype of Captain Jonathan Walker’s hand branded with SS—‘slave saviour’ or ‘stealer’—punishment by the U.S. Marshall for freeing 7 African-American men.

Ben Cauchi (born 1974, Auckland) graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Photography, Massey University in 2000, exhibiting throughout New Zealand, then in Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States, with works held by every major New Zealand public collection, and in significant Australian collections. Cauchi has lectured in photography at Massey University, was awarded the 2007 University of Otago Frances Hodgkins Fellow, the 2011 Rita Angus Cottage residency, Wellington, and a 2011 New Zealand Arts Foundation New Generation award. In 2012 Cauchi took up the Creative New Zealand Berlin Visual Artists Residency, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, and now lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
gold-toned, gelatin chloride, contact photographic print
Approx. 250 x 300mm
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