An image of Derangement

Suzanne Archer

(Australia, England 17 Dec 1945 – )


Not on display
Further information

'Derangement' is a self-portrait of the artist in her studio. It reflects Archer's developing awareness of her own mortality. In 2002 Archer was searching for a new subject when she was given the opportunity to visit and draw in the Dissection Laboratory of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney. She returned there periodically until 2005, to make observational drawings of horse dissection in order to inform her studio work. The 'Disturbance series', to which this drawing belongs, developed later, and included skulls and bones collected near her bush studio and specimens given to her by her friends.

'I have used as my subject some of the inanimate animals that hang, stand on shelves or sit in cabinets in my studio. They are either the real specimens or the sculptural interpretations of them which are often used as props for my work or in the case of the sculptures also exhibited in their own right. The most recent works have incorporated the uneasy element of my self-portrait. I am interested in the odd juxtaposition of my own cut-off head with the animal images, in the emotional reaction that it engenders in the viewer.' (Suzanne Archer, 2010).

With her fascination for animal carcasses and skeletons, Archer joins a long tradition of artists – from Rembrandt and Chardin to the Dutch and Flemish painters of still lifes, and, more recently, Soutine, Bacon and Damien Hirst – who have striven for equivalent materiality of expression through paint, sculpture or graphic media.

This work won the Dobell Prize for Drawing in 2010 and was acquired by the Gallery in 2010.

Place of origin
Wedderburn, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
ink, charcoal, pastel on two sheets of white paper
173.3 x 207.5 cm sheet; overall; 187.0 x 218.0 x 6.1 cm frame
Signature & date

Signed and dated l.r. corner, white pastel "ARCHER '10".

Gift of the Trustees of the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation 2011
Accession number
© Suzanne Archer. Licensed by Copyright Agency