Simon Obarzanek | Video Portraits

15 May – 11 June 2016


Over the past decade Simon Obarzanek has produced a number of discrete photographic series that give artistic expression to his distinctive world view. In each series of work he takes the human form as his primary medium, moulding, and manipulating faces and figures to explore an approach to life that is grounded in primacy of material forces….we find ourselves immersed in a world of actions and passion, humbled by our own mortality and travelling a path that remains shrouded in mystery.1


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In a subtle shift from photography to moving image Simon Obarzanek’s forthcoming exhibition will showcase a suite of six high definition video pieces, fittingly titled Video Portraits. The subjects, with their formal uniformity are paired back to no more than highlighted faces lit against a dark background. The protagonists at times give only the very subtlest hint at physical exertion and at other times they are at battle, as they appear to be coerced by something unseen. Obarzanek continues to explore the notions of loss, passion, strength, illness, gravity, and loneliness that are at the core of the common human experience.


Born in Israel, Simon Obarzanek lives and works in Melbourne, he holds a Bachelor of Photography from RMIT, Melbourne.  His works are held in major Australian collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra and the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.


Obarzanek has exhibited in many significant group and solo exhibitions including: Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London (2005), Melbourne Now (2013), Negotiating This World: Contemporary Australian Art, (2012); and Order and disorder: Archives and photography (2008/2009), all at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. A survey exhibition Simon Obarzanek, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne (2008).


1. Zagala, Stephen. ‘Disfiguring Hubris’, Simon Obarzanek, exhibition catalogue, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, p.2