The exhibition ‘Martyn Jolly’s Phantasmagoria of Magic Lanterns’ at the Canberra Museum and Gallery, 2020, was curated by Virginia Rigney, designed by Greer Versteeg, and installed by Gary Smith.
We displayed 560 slides in a large light box. Grids of 85x85mm square holes, each and 13mm apart, were laser cut into sheets of 4.5mm black acrylic. These were laid on 3mm clear backing acrylic, loaded with slides arranged in groups and sequences, and topped with a cover sheet of clear 2mm acrylic. The sandwiches were then taped around the edges and vertically held by a wooden frame against the inside doors of four bays a large display case. The front of the doors were covered with self-adhesive black vinyl except for the blocks of slides. The slides were lit from the front by ambient LED light, which allowed visitors to see the labels, and they were backlit through UV filtering film by fluorescent light bounced off the back wall of the case.
Interpretative handouts nearby were keyed with thumbnail images to allow visitors to find information and commentary about individual slides and slide sets within the overall grid.
As well as square glass slides, wooden mechanical slides were also displayed on glass shelves. These were lit from the front with LED lights, while the transparent painted glass images were lit from behind with electroluminescent panels trimmed down to size from 100mm x 100m sheets. The colour of each EL panel was corrected with an 81a photographic filter, and UV filtered with film. Each sandwich of EL panel, filter and UV film was lightly attached to the rear of the slide with conservation tape and individually wired into a low voltage circuit.
These displays were augmented with:
Conventional displays of magic lanterns.
A circular digital projection on a facing wall introduced visitors to the exhibition, transitioning between text and images.
Four video screens showed performance documentation and demonstrating the mechanical slides, chromatropes and panoramic slides.
Enlargements of an Australian lantern slide and a Primus slide box.
Interpretive text was included in the digital projection:
An installation of Canberra travel brochures for the 1920s to the 1980s, each covered by a sheet of A4 paper in which had been cut a small window strategically revealing a hapless Canberra citizen, unwittingly conscripted to take part in the civic vista of the photograph, which remained obscured.
Photographed, in colour and black and white, from the pages of Australiana picture books with a Linhof camera. First exhibited at the Centre for Creative Photography, Melbourne, then at the Museum of Contemporary Art in an exhibition called Sydney Photographed.
Framed and matted pages from newspapers. Each sports page was framed and matted in its entirety, with windows strategically cut to reveal crucial deatails of the sports photographs. Exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, in 2000 in an exhibition Sporting Life.
An exhibition of details derived from the Spirit Photography of Ada Emma Deane, kept in Cambridge University Library, accompanied by an artist’s book, a biography of Ada Deane called Faces of the Living Dead. First exhibited at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, 2001
Nineteen Sixty-Three: News and Information, RMIT Gallery February 1998, and Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney, August 1998. A large grid of 100 details scanned from 4 x 5 contact prints in the Australian Archives, initially made in 1963 for the Australian News an Information Bureau.
Commissioned in 2004 to design the ACT Bushfire Memorial along with Tess Horwitz and Tony Steel. 300 brick sized and shaped details from photographs contributed by members of the community, each individually captioned, printed in five glass columns.