Current Issue #488

Thinking Through Things with Patrick Pound

Thinking Through Things with Patrick Pound

In Thinking Through Things, Patrick Pound takes items from the Flinders University Art Museum (FUAM)’s Post-Object and Documentation Collection and displays them alongside items from his own collection.

Pound, who collects discarded vernacular photographs and things, often presents bodies of work with a single constraint. In this case he has used the circle, the sphere or the hole.

“If you have a constraint like a sphere or a hole everything can get in by chance,” Pound says. “I’m looking at limits of how things can hold ideas, and how they can be made to hold them differently.”

The works he has sourced from FUAM’s collection are sometimes artworks and sometimes they are instructions for artworks. For example he includes a book with holes in it by Janis Nedela (an artwork) alongside a videotape recording an art event, but instead of playing the tape Pound presents the cassette itself.


“One of the interests for me is that some of the things were documents and in a way they were things. It’s called Post-Object art but they are all objects, so no matter what we do we end up with things,” Pound says.

Pound has always been a collector. Initially he collected things to inform the work and then at some point it became the work. He has collected tens of thousands of photographs and other things all of which he sources from eBay. He collects all sorts of images including mistake photographs, like the photographer’s thumb or the camera case – images which are a thing of the past, the mistakes are now deleted. One of the photographs in thinking through things includes the sticker ‘you are not being charged for this photo’.


It’s a simple idea in some ways, to pull together items that have a single constraint but each constraint can have many different meanings resulting in different objects. In some cases, the circle can be an illusion, sometimes it can be a physical one, sometimes it’s an accident. It results in an exhibition that is both serious and light – for example the inclusion of a newspaper clipping of a man who fell in a hole.

There is always one piece in the collection that Pound says is “almost like a test of the limit” – it doesn’t seem to fit the constraint. In the Gallery of Air part of the Melbourne Now exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in 2013 he included a tram ticket which was actually a tram ticket from WWII in Sydney but only for air raid workers. In Thinking Through Things he has included a photograph by Tim Burns where they are digging a line, while it’s not a hole or a sphere when you dig the first one it’s a hole.


Drawing on the FUAM collection and his own collection, Pound brings together disparate things and treats them as equals. In a way he is using a single lens to view a broad collection of things, fitting them into his overall organising principle of the hole or sphere. Pound collects items that are often overlooked and puts them back into use in a museum context.

Pound is in the process of putting together a major survey exhibition at the NGV due to open in March 2017. Patrick Pound: The Great Exhibition will include items from his collection combined with pieces from the NGV’s collection culminating in his largest work to date.

Patrick Pound: Thinking Through Things
Flinders University City Gallery
Until Sunday, November 27

Photos: Grant Hancock

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