Lillian O’Neil—Evening (Wall commission #3)

Lillian O’Neil works in large scale analogue photomontage. Her works have their origins in vintage books found in archives, research libraries or second-hand book shops. Images are selected, scanned, enlarged, printed, cut and collaged together, and in their juxtaposition, new and unexpected narratives emerge. The composite images are an interplay between analogue and digital, mechanical and manual, original and reproduction, micro and macro, past and present.

Evening is composed of images sourced from books on subjects as diverse as the prehistoric monument Stonehenge, surfing, mining, dance and theatre. The work is also informed by literature and art history. During its making, O’Neil listened to a podcast reading of excerpts from British author VS Naipaul’s The Enigma of Arrival (1987). Naipaul’s largely autobiographical novel exploring concepts of time and place took its title—and first edition cover image—from Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico’s 1912 painting The Enigma of the Arrival and the Afternoon. In de Chirico’s set-like composition, architectural forms cast geometric shadows and two mysterious figures appear within an otherwise unpopulated cityscape.

Watch now.


Supported through Creative Victoria’s Covid-19 Strategic Investment Fund

Video produced by Levi Ingram.