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The Paper Mill Series


Jane Brown

This series examines the closure of a papermaking factory. On the banks of the Yarra River in Alphington, Victoria, once sat the former Amcor and APM Paper Mill. Like the Carceri etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), paper manufacture is overborne with stairs and monstrous machines. The use of repeating images and grid like arrangement evokes the labyrinthine nature of this 100-year-old factory site. The grid also pays homage to the sites curtain-windows typical of modernist factories of that time. There is a sense of disquiet and unease in the abandoned machinery and work wear; far from being the shiny examples of engineering in the machine age, these machines were worn down, covered in pulp or branded with a pre-demolition acronym – NAD (No Asbestos Detected).

The monochrome images are hand-printed by the artist using traditional, photographic darkroom practices and are presented in a large grid. The gelatin silver prints are selenium and gold toned. The significance of the works photographic paper is emphasised by individually float-mounting each piece of paper, therefore accentuating the movement of the double weight, fibre-based paper. All the more poignant given the subject is a former paper manufacturer.

Born out of a project that paid homage to the late industrial photographer Wolfgang Sievers, this series documents a site Sievers valorized in the 1950s and 1960s. The work was shown as a part of the Sievers Project at the Centre for Contemporary Photography and the Melbourne Art Fair in 2014.

Works:

Diptych. The Paper Mill (former Amcor and APM site), Fairfield, 2014.
Two panels made up of nine and twelve prints in a mix of gold toned (blue) and un-toned fibre-based, gelatin silver prints, (framed dimension - 99cm high x 79 wide and 99cm high x 103.5cm wide), edition 1 of 3 +AP

Staircase. The Paper Mill (former Amcor and APM site), Fairfield, 2014. Fibre-based, gelatin silver print, 40.6 x 50.8 cm (framed dimension: 57.0 x 46.5 cm), editions of 3 + AP

Triptych. The Paper Mill (former Amcor and APM site), Fairfield, 2014. Three panels made up respectively of 9, 6 and 6 selenium toned, fibre-based, gelatin silver prints, each of 38 cm x 47 cm (framed dimensions: 121.5 x 148.0 cm, 121.5 x 101.0 cm, 121.5 x 101.0 cm) editions of 3 + AP

The Sievers Project catalogue