The hunt, painting by John Brack
Acquired to commemorate Geelong Gallery’s centenary in 1996, this major painting sees a return to Brack’s series of ‘postcard’ works commenced in the mid-1970's, soon after his first overseas travels. Of particular significance are the large scale reproductions purchased by the artist from the British Museum depicting wall reliefs from the royal palaces of the Neo-Assyrian kings Ashurnasirpal II and Ashurbanipal. These reproductions provided the source material for The hunt.
Alluding to the often fragmentary nature by which we engage with—and absorb information about—historical cultures, Brack precariously balances more than thirty postcards reproducing fragments of the frieze-like panels depicting royal bull and lion hunts. Each postcard sits atop a formation of coloured pencils: Brack’s composition suggesting that should one of the pencils dislodge, ancient civilization itself might collapse. The arrangement teeters on a tilted marble tabletop, positioned on a black and white chequered floor (the latter alluding to parallels between the strategies of a chess game and the hunting of the animals depicted on the postcards).