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Peter Lyssiotis

(Cyprus, Australia 1949 – )

...From the secret life of statues

Location
Not on display
Further information

Peter Lyssiotis is a Melbourne photographer and publisher of the small press Masterthief Enterprises. Born in Cyprus he came to Australia with his family in 1954. His first book, ‘Journey of the wise electron and other stories’ 1981, contained the dedication: ‘To my parents who taught me how to watch, and how to adjust.’ ‘Since then’, says collaborator Ted Hopkins, ‘Lyssiotis has continued to produce many outstanding artist’s books … and extended his repertoire to include film and photo experiments, typography, design, and forays into gallery spaces with photo montage.’1

‘…From the secret life of statues’ is, in common with all of Lyssiotis’s books, beautifully produced and laden with meaning from its fabric to the images and accompanying, enigmatic, texts: the red glazed kid-leather cover is the colour of blood and fire; as Lyssiotis has written: ‘the love can become … the blood of life.’ The paper ‘is white and smooth like marble.’ ''…From the secret life of statues' rediscovers sixth-century Athens by way of Burwood east.’2 Drawing on his experiences and memories Lyssiotis brings together parts of stories, ‘like those reconstructed amphora’.3 These include the poetry of George Seferis, Jean Cocteau’s film ‘The blood of the poet’ 1930, Montgomery Clift’s facial paralysis, Luis Buñuel’s ‘L’age d’or’ 1930, among many other fragments which spark reveries to do with love and desire, the animate and inanimate. ‘The real story’, writes Lyssiotis, ‘is to be discovered between the images and the text. The outcome of the narrative is to be found outside the pages of the book …’4

1. Hopkins T 2006, ‘Peter Lyssiotis: vanishing point’, Watson Place Gallery, Melbourne
2. Lyssiotis P 1996, ‘… from the secret life of statues,’ ‘Photofile’, no 47, Mar p 30
3. ibid p 27
4. ibid

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Year
1994
printed 1995
Media
Album, Photograph
Medium
bound album: 32 leaves, 19 type C photographs, hand-set text
Dimensions
32 leaves: 24.9 x 20.0 cm each leaf; 25.6 x 21.0 x 2.3 cm album closed; 25.6 x 42.0 cm album open :
a - Untitled (face lower centre), 13.2 x 13.5 cm, image
a - Untitled (face lower centre), 13.8 x 14 cm, sheet
b - You send me a voice through lips of marble, 20.5 x 14 cm, image
b - You send me a voice through lips of marble, 21 x 14.5 cm, sheet
c - I need a ship to begin my journey. Your eyes will do., 17.4 x 12.5 cm, image
c - I need a ship to begin my journey. Your eyes will do., 17.9 x 13 cm, sheet
d - Untitled (draped head), 15 x 12 cm, image
d - Untitled (draped head), 15.5 x 12.4 cm, sheet
e - Then the sound of the sea., 19 x 7.8 cm, image
e - Then the sound of the sea., 19.5 x 8.2 cm, sheet
f - Untitled (figure with blue background), 14.9 x 9.7 cm, image
f - Untitled (figure with blue background), 15.4 x 9.9 cm, sheet
g - Untitled (book on table), 16.8 x 12.2 cm, image
g - Untitled (book on table), 17.2 x 12.6 cm, sheet
h - Marble has an appetite for love, 21.8 x 12.5 cm, image
h - Marble has an appetite for love, 22.2 x 12.9 cm, sheet
i - Untitled (bronze figure), 19.1 x 13.2 cm, image
i - Untitled (bronze figure), 19.3 x 13.5 cm, sheet
j - Untitled (tiles and clouds), 18 x 12.6 cm, image
j - Untitled (tiles and clouds), 18.4 x 13.1 cm, sheet
k - He wakes as others sleep, 15.8 x 12 cm, image
k - He wakes as others sleep, 16.2 x 12.4 cm, sheet
l - Untitled (figure in waves), 21.9 x 14.5 cm, image
l - Untitled (figure in waves), 22.2 x 14.9 cm, sheet
m - Untitled (feet and male figure), 19 x 10.1 cm, image
m - Untitled (feet and male figure), 19.3 x 10.4 cm, sheet
n - Untitled (profile), 10 x 16.5 cm, image
n - Untitled (profile), 10.5 x 17 cm, sheet
o - Untitled (face and hand), 16.6 x 11.5 cm, image
o - Untitled (face and hand), 17 x 12 cm, sheet
p - Untitled (statue in demolished street), 11.1 x 17.1 cm, image
p - Untitled (statue in demolished street), 11.4 x 17.5 cm, sheet
q - like any traveller all he desired was rest, 22.3 x 11.1 cm, image
q - like any traveller all he desired was rest, 22.7 x 11.5 cm, sheet
r - Untitled (wall with relief carvings), 23.4 x 16.1 cm, image
r - Untitled (wall with relief carvings), 23.7 x 16.5 cm, sheet
s - Untitled (male in water with door), 9.4 x 6 cm, image
s - Untitled (male in water with door), 9.8 x 6.5 cm, sheet
Signature & date

Signed lower centre leaf bb, ink "P Lyssiotis". Not dated.

Credit
Purchased 1995
Accession number
107.1995.a-s
Copyright
© Peter Lyssiotis