Elise Hilder: The Incomplete Dinosaur
The Hold Artspace, on behalf of the artist, warmly invites you to the closing night of ‘The Incomplete Dinosaur: Prehistoric Landscapes of Central West Queensland’ by Elise Hilder on Friday April 10.
Exploring the past raises many issues for the photographer today, since prehistory, specifically pre-human history, has a somewhat incredible connection to the contemporary physical world. This series of work considers dinosaur imagery that we often do not get to see: the excavation site and surrounding landscape; the human enterprise of digging; and the somewhat abstract fossil forms that litter the worksite.
As an image, the excavation site represents more than just a manmade cavity in the earth where ‘work is done’ and needs to be photographically recorded for the archives. The excavation site is a scientific space, but it often looks less like science and more like a performance, a crowded sandpit, or, at night, another planet. Through the camera lens, these digging spaces become a visual smorgasbord, in which the changing qualities of light, the time of day, the spacing, colours and placement of objects, and the comings and goings of the diggers create a visually rich, contemporary anthropological space. The dinosaur dig is as much a product of present human endeavour as it is of the deep past.
Since 2012, Elise Hilder has been photographing museum collections and dinosaur digs as part of her Ph.D. research at Griffith University. The images have been produced during in-field excavations and museum artist residencies with: Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History (Winton); Kronosaurus Korner Museum (Richmond); and Dinosaur Stampede National Monument at Lark Quarry Conservation Park.