View of Geelong: Trans Panorama: Ruin and Viewin'

Cam Bishop and Simon Reis
Wadawurrung Country
Montpellier Park 8 Westbury Terrace Highton, VIC 3216

Eugene von Guerard’s View of Geelong is iconic for a number of reasons, including its detailed interpretation of the landscape and its special place in the imagining of the region.

Bishop and Reis seek to honour this by manipulating the science behind the view and at the same time question the viewer’s relationship to the scene and the work. We use the husk of a ruined fireplace to house a camera obscura and stereoscope – pressed concaved metal into which the viewer puts their head and looks through a divided hole into the unit.

The camera obscura mimics the mechanics of the eye, and is able to capture the scene perfectly while the stereoscope splits the scene, makes it partial, layered and temporal. In doing this we layer von Guerard’s view with change, acknowledging the effects of European civilization and, peculiar to this historical panorama, suburbanization of the landscape.

The creeping suburbs will be seen on the left side of the stereoscope through a camera obscura, which presents a real-time view of the scene from the point at which von Guerard allegedly painted it. On the right side, we again catch the light, but only to light a transparency of von Guerard’s original work.

The technologies we draw upon – the camera obscura, stereoscope and landscape painting – create a confluence of images, both real and imagined.

The iconic View of Geelong Painting can be seen at the Geelong Gallery.

This artwork has inspired numerous artists and musicians. The Perpetual echoes project featured a musical composition in response to the work.

Perpetual Echoes is a collaborative arts project by Lisa Singline, Stephen Oakes, Belinda McArdle and Sue Hindle, responding to 6 artworks from the Geelong Gallery Collection, funded by the Greater City of Geelong. Golden Journey is the musical score written in response to the iconic painting View of Geelong 1856 by Eugene von Guérard.

Public Art: View of Geelong

Blinkered scape in twisted light

Though frayed by fence, roof and wall

View still splendid to the eye

(J McElwee 2015)

Funded by the City of Greater Geelong and artists supported by Deakin University

Page last updated: Monday, 12 February 2024