The hunt 1988
oil on canvas
Geelong Art Gallery centenary acquisition
Purchased through public subscription, 1996
This major painting—acquired to celebrate a significant milestone in the Gallery’s history—sees Brack return to the series of ‘postcard’ works commenced in the mid- 1970s, soon after his first trip to Europe.
Alluding to the often fragmentary nature by which we engage with, and absorb information about, historical cultures, Brack’s composition sees the precarious balancing of more than thirty postcards reproducing fragments of wall reliefs from the royal palaces of the Neo-Assyrian kings Ashurnasirpal II and Ashurbanipal, now in the British Museum. Each postcard sits atop a formation of coloured pencils suggesting that should one of the pencils dislodge, ancient civilisation itself might collapse. The arrangement teeters on a marble tabletop, positioned on a black and white chequered floor, alluding to the strategies of a chess game and the hunting of the animals depicted on the postcards.