Paul Uhlmann on artwork Batavia: Notebook to the Void


There’s an artist book in the exhibition and it’s called Notebook to the Void, but Batavia, not Notebook to the Void. The idea of the book is I was lucky. I was fortunate to be invited
to be on the expedition that happened last year,
November 20th, to Beacon Island. While we were there, they
discovered one of the bodies, so I was there while the
body was being excavated. I noticed that there
was extraordinary care that was being taken by the archeologists in excavating the body. I was interested though in terms of the harshness of the environment and the harshness of the
final days of the victim. What I wanted to do was to make an image of the victim using Drypoint which is to scratch into a copper plate. I needed to use something
like that to refer to the visceral nature of the form, the body being excavated in this way. It had to be something that was physical rather than a straight photograph. I wanted to show something
of the physicality of the discovery and the
harshness of the environment. So I used the Drypoint to scour the image out of the plate and then I inked that. Then this particular form
is surrounded by sea, by ocean because I was struck by the sense of isolation
that must have been in play in terms of the remoteness
of this tiny island.

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