Fiona Hall born 1953
Laminex, metal, wood,
PVC, rubber, glass
140.0 x 163.0 x 103.0 cm
R. H. S. Abbott Bequest Fund 1999
Reproduced courtesy of the artist
Fiona Hall is an internationally regarded artist. She has exhibited widely in Australia and overseas, and is represented in major museum collections throughout this country. Initially trained and recognized as a photographer, Hall began to work with sculpture in the 1980s. Her body of sculptural work is characterized by the use of varied materials such as soap, cardboard boxes, sardine tins, Coca-Cola cans, beading and knitting. Her practice has also included installations and sculptural garden design.
Hall was one of twenty-four artists commissioned to make works documenting the new Parliament House in Canberra in 1988. For the tenth anniversary of the opening of Parliament House, Hall was invited to create a work for the exhibition Archives and Everyday, which focused on the important archival and historical objects and records held in Canberra.
The work Hall made for the exhibition was Incontinent, a metaphorical, layered piece focusing on the Commission of Assent signed by Queen Victoria, on her personal writing table in Windsor Castle, on 9 July 1900. This document allowed Australia its own constitution and acknowledged the new nation as a federation of states. The desk, inkwell and pen used by Queen Victoria as she put her signature to the Commission of Assent are today part of Australia's national collections. Hall's interpretation plays on the notion of the decline of the British Empire, the Queen and the Victorian era.