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Simryn Gill

(Singapore, Malaysia, Australia 1959 – )

Out of my hair

Not on display
Further information

'Out of my hair' was originally commissioned as a suite of artists pages for Art + Text magazine, before Gill exhibited them as photographic prints. In this work Gill creates a process of visual substitution and connection in which the process of masking and disguising that was to be so important in her later bodies of work such as 'A small town at the turn of the century' (1999-2000) is apparent.

In 'Out of my hair' braids are made from natural and man-made materials such as wire, cassette tape, and coconut fibre. An enigmatic process of visual equivalence seems to animate these beautifully toned black and white prints. Each object has been ordered in a similar way which suggests human hair, and yet they do of course remain fundamentally different from each other.

The last image in the series is in colour. In this photograph a brown-skinned women wears a blonde wig, but the wig is made from banana skins. The woman looks very happy with her new hair as she gazes heavenwards. But at the same time we can not help but find it humorous as it is patently silly and recalls slapstick comedies. It will inevitably rot and decay, rapidly turning from yellow to brown and black. This image seems to suggest that her desire is misplaced and its satisfaction is both transitory and ridiculous. It is also a punning play on the products that the West closely associates with the tropics and how those products also substitute in our minds for people and places, something explored more fully in 'A small town at the turn of the century'.

4 gelatin silver photographs, 1 type C photograph
5 photographs: each 26.0 x 20.5 cm
Gift of the artist 2005
Accession number
© Simryn Gill