age and consent in sentient visibility

Sentient Visibility at Grace Cossington Smith Gallery, Sydney, 2018

 

Artists:  Ella Dreyfus, Mollie Rice, Rox de Luca, Annelies Jahn, Melinda Le Guy, Gillian Lavery, Pollyxenia Joannou, Anita Larkin, Anne Levitch

Curator: Anne Levitch


Ella Dreyfus

Age and Consent 1999/2018


How we write is intrinsically connected to what we write and why. When our signature is required, we take extra care; or we used to when signatures were a unique method of declaring our authenticity and identity. As writing becomes less a task of the hand and is more often done with a keyboard, a profound transformation takes place and some loss is inevitable. 


When I photographed old and infirm people in the Aged Care Unit of Liverpool Hospital in Sydney, I was required to gain their written consent. With great care and to the best of their ability, they tried to complete what seemed like a momentous task – signing their own names. I watched this last vestige of pride in knowing one’s name, fading and being taken out of their hands.


I recognised these signatures as exquisite vestiges bestowing agency and respect upon those on the precipice of death.


Age and Consent was first exhibited at Stills Gallery, Sydney in 1999