Completion of Visual Art Commission 2019/20 by Dr Helen Pynor


The recently completed visual art commission by Dr Helen Pynor has been installed in the Woodvale Library.

Titled Capacity 1,2 & 3, the photographic lightbox series explores the transformation of the body through different states, and the body’s capacity for change and transformation. The work is in-part autobiographical but harks to broader themes about the human experience.

The series was prompted by the artist’s own hip condition and recent hip replacement surgery. It was developed after the artist undertook a seven-week residency at the City of Joondalup in 2018. The artist observed, researched and engaged with individuals and organisations experiencing / supporting those with spinal chord injuries and other mobility disabilities during her visit.

This connection with the community provided the artist with new understandings of how to live in and make a relationship with, a ‘non normative’ body. A powerful theme that emerged from these dialogues was the creative and resourceful ways that individuals integrate their disabilities into new and innovative social, cultural and creative identities.

This artwork builds on the artist’s previous creative exploration of the ontology of human and non-human bodies. Imagery draws on the artist’s own personal X-Ray and CT scans, qraphic elements such as text (technical and graphic language used in medical scans), dashes (referencing the act of surgery itself), smoke (symbolising the transformational processes of change, incorporation and healing) and black space (defining spatial qualities of the medical imaging process). The lightboxes emanate their own internal glowing light source to reiterate the idea of ‘translucency’.

Capacity 1,2 & 3 are part of a larger series by the artist that will tour nationally in the exhibition Experimenta Life Forms: International Triennial of Media Art 2021-2023 which opened in Hobart, Tasmania in April 2021.