||The large charcoal drawings in Drawings and correspondence are based on fragments of a single anonymous archival photograph held in the collection of the State Library of Victoria, which captured a ‘native encampment’, a short-lived nineteenth century ethnographic display in the Melbourne Zoo. The accompanying artist’s book consists of an imaginary email correspondence which indirectly describes narratives around the ‘encampment’; a labyrinth of stories built around the picture-making of the Zoo director’s wife based on the recollections of her husband’s childhood on the Goulburn River. The text, like the drawings themselves, comes to gravitate around the nature of picture making, its imaginary spaces and its limits, and around the nature of drawing as an activity in the face of history.
Drawings and correspondence was developed during Nicholson’s Creative Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria in 2007–8. A reduced form of this project was realised for the 2010 exhibition Animism, a collaboration between Extra City Kunsthal Antwerpen and the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (M HKA), in cooperation with the Kunsthalle Bern, the Generali Foundation Vienna, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin and the Free University Berlin.
This expanded form of the project is shown for the first time here, at Anna Schwartz Gallery.