27 July to 26 August 2023

View selected preview for Trent Parke's 'Monument' 

Artist Statement

In this retrospective body of work, Parke revisits his most iconic black and white street photography. Presenting a single filmic narrative through a series of photographs, this body of work has been inspired by NASA’s Golden Record, a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk carried into space containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. This is Parke’s photographic record of the last moments on earth. A Monument of humankind.

“When I first moved to the city of Sydney, my first real impression was the sheer volume of people and the endless procession of city workers making their way to and from it. Initially I photographed a lot at night, and in the dimly lit underground subway stations. I would watch and wait, moving with the rush hour as it slowly gathered momentum along the train stations and bus stops, drawing closer to the city centre.

And with it, my adrenaline, eventually overflowing like the underground platforms and ticket gates, before spilling out onto the street, the bright sunlight, and the criss-cross of everywhere. The city workers moving in great mass, all walking the great conveyer belt of life. Most in a trance like state, treading the same path day after day, week after week, year after year...clocking on, clocking off, all under the spell of the city. And before long so was I. The more I photographed, the more I became drawn to the light. I began circling the city on a daily basis, chasing the sun as it moved from street corner to street corner. Trying to make sense of what everything meant. From my balcony at night, I would watch the eclipse of moths, millions of them constantly circling the lights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Spiralling out of control, like small spaceships caught in a tractor beam.

An electrical charge in the still air.

A small puff of smoke. Gone.

Instant disintegration of a life form. Another blip in the universe.

Another small space craft colliding with the blazing sun.”

View 'Monument' series in its entirety