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ANU student curates exhibition of Dutch Master Photographers

Annette Liu and Dr Martyn Jolly at the opening of Olaf and Kerstens in Canberra.

Monday 23 October 2017
When we walk into an art gallery or museum, we appreciate the works of art or objects but often overlook their placement and presentation.
 
But as fourth-year Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Visual Arts student Annette Liu explains, both have a huge impact on the viewer’s experience.
 
“I think curatorship is like directing or editing a movie,” Annette says.
 
“It influences the way you see and experience things and that can completely change your ideas of the work.”
 
Annette recently curated an exhibition featuring works by two of the Netherlands’ most important and well-known photographers, Erwin Olaf and Hendrik Kerstens. She was initially asked to be part of a panel discussion about the show with Assistant Curator at the National Portrait Gallery, Penny Grist, and Director of the Canberra Museum and Gallery, Shane Breynard. But in learning that the role of curator was available, Annette put her hand up for that job as well.
 
“There are lots of opportunities for students to curate exhibitions, but they're not really marketed,” she says.
 
“You have to ask around and be really enthusiastic.”
 
Annette worked closely with Dr Martyn Jolly, Head of the Photography and Media Arts workshop at ANU, presenting to him her ideas on how to pair and group photos, where to place them, and how much space to put between the images. She explained her considerations when it comes to curating.
 
“The main things I look at are composition and colour – and also the spaces they would be sitting in,” Annette says.
 
“I try to draw hints from the images themselves and bring them out of the frame.”
 
Dr Jolly praised Annette’s work at the exhibition launch, describing the installation as thoughtful and fresh.
 
“It uses the gallery and upstairs foyer in a very clever and sophisticated way,” he added.
 
The bodies of work on display by Olaf and Kerstens are about family, Dr Jolly told attendees.
 
“Hendrik Kerstens has photographed his real daughter Paula, while Irwin Olaf has fictionalized family scenarios where awkward adolescents react to being looked at. 
 
“I think it is this which connects the work to its audience so immediately.”
 
 
Olaf and Kerstens in Canberra is showing at the ANU School of Art and Design, supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands. The exhibition wraps up at the end of October.
 

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Updated:  22 November, 2017/Responsible Officer:  College Dean/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications