Imants Tillers

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Art Critical Analysis
Mount Analogue is a post-modern artwork by Imants Tillers painted in 1985. This work can be said to be a post-modern piece as Tiller has utilised several techniques common to this style. Bricolage is the creation of a work from a diverse range of things that happen to be available. In this case, Tiller, out of necessity, created his canvas board system. This particular artwork is an appropriation of the rather majestic painting ‘North- East view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko’ by Eugene von Guerard, produced in 1863. Tillers has re-contextualised the work and given it added value for the present time. ‘Mt Analogue’ explores ideas of authorship and originality through his use of appropriation. He has used one hundred and sixty five canvas board panels jig-sawed together to contrast with von Guerard’s meticulous nineteenth century depiction. Von Guerard’s painting was a result of its time; Von Guerard’s painting is based on sketches he made as part of a scientific expedition to record variations of the earth’s magnetic fields in 1862, and he recorded the new nation through European eyes. Although von Guerard attempted to very accurately portray the features of the new country, he used the techniques and conventions of the time. So, it seems odd that a modern Australian artist would take this piece and be moved to reinvent it. By replicating such a significant image in Australian art history Tillers challenges the traditional notion of what art is. Imants Tillers uses elements of post modernism to recreate, appropriate the original painting and manages to make it a mystical experience. Tillers was drawn to Australian-born artist Eugene von Guerard’s image partly because of the art-historical associations of the land and the mountains, and partly due to a book he read. Imants Tillers’ title, Mount Analogue, is taken from the title of a novel by the French author Rene Daumal. This novel follows an expedition in search of a symbolic mountain, a mountain that will ‘play the role of Mount Analogue’. Mount Analogue is also a parable of the spiritual journey of the self. Tillers saw a spiritual connection in the image of Mount Kosciusko, therefore, reproduced it with a slightly different meaning then the original romantic painting by von Guerard. Discrepancies in von Guérard’s naming of the site occurred partly because the name of the location was by no means fixed at the time. Rather than being the highest peak, as some supposed it to be, it was the second highest that became officially known as Mount Townsend in 1892, in honour of Thomas Townsend, who conducted a survey of the Snowy Mountains in 1846–47. This refers back to the inspiration for the painting, the book Mount Analogue, where the mountain does not exist, just as ‘North- East view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko’ was not actually exist.

In ‘Mount Analogue’, the mountain site is framed by a dramatic rock formation in the foreground as well as a wind-blown, caped figure gesturing towards the expansive landscape. The middle ground captures the circular peak formation, covered in crisp white snow. The background consists of a serene sunset sky, with a hint of an approaching storm in the top left corner. The use of separate canvas boards is what gives this artwork a post-modern appearance. The audience can see that not all of the images on the canvas boards match up perfectly, this adds texture and interest which is also a part of the artists style. Also the artwork references the old fashion analogue televisions, where the picture is made up of lots of little squares close up, like a dot matrix, but looks like a picture from further away. Overall, Tillers depicts an accurate portrayal of Mount Analogue which symbolises, for him, a personal spiritual journey of accomplishment and admiration for the beauty of nature. Mountains are symbolic of higher thinking, spiritualty, being closer to heaven; Guerard version is as a...
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