a telescope pointed at time {2022-2023]
melbourne, australia

a telescope pointed at time

five walls gallery
melbourne, australia

The silence dispersed among the deep green and blue waves of the sea connects diverse stories, experiences and perspectives beyond comprehension. An understanding that will never fathom the impact on the lives of individuals that those waves helped shape over generations, and continue to sculpt today.

This ongoing project scopes the generational changes and understanding of events told through story, media, family history research and archives. Centralising the biographical writing of a seaman; Smith from the British Royal Navy and three ships they were associated with throughout their naval career, and life thereafter. These ships form the foundation of the project to probe the micro and macro narratives, experiences and perspectives that arise when thinking through the topology, latitudes and longitudes of the sea. Scoping its complex relationship to interpreting experiences of the past.

To better understand various forms of displacement and discontinuity, alluding to ideas of home, I composed a series of paintings and text pieces that adopt archival images, writings, topologies, diagrams, fiction, films, and other things drawn from research and biographical writing. Reflecting on what was documented, and the silences and gaps which remain.

PDF download text pieces

personal histories {2021-2022]
adelaide, australia

personal histories

praxis artspace
adelaide, australia

‘Personal Histories’ is an upcoming project that contemplates what it means to hold ownership of one's own memories amidst media oversaturation. Drawing on the ephemeral experience of a mental image once seen, but not easily recalled… such as how an image circulates the world wide web.

Simon reached out to colleagues and strangers from around the world to propose a brief:

“To select a photograph from your own personal archives that has travelled with you for a long time and relates to a memory. Something of personal significance. The memory could be good or bad, positive or negative, of a time, a moment, an era.... an ex lover, a memory of a sensation or perhaps of what you don't want to forget…”

The photographers Simon reached out to are a mix of close friends, friends of friends, or strangers, which he provided no limits for what they shared. He asked them to not specify any background or context to these images. Used as a strategy to project ideas of what Simon knows versus assumptions that he makes of the images, where these opposing ideas are scrutinised. And to remove his subjectivity from choosing what to paint.

By subjecting the image to a latency unfamiliar to photography, reference images are painted over extended periods of time, allowing personal and often fragmentary memories to emerge in the paint and surface, and repeat across multiple works.

‘Personal Histories’ embodies these sensations of change and probes the complicated relationship between presence and representation. Raising the question: How do people grapple with their own histories in the current state of image and information saturation that spans across social sharing, culture and artificial news?

glitch garden [2021]
melbourne, australia

glitch garden

stamford park homestead
melbourne, australia

Glitch Garden is a sculptural installation that subtly distorts the natural environment.

Mirrored objects are placed in amongst the natural vegetation at Stamford Park Estate, reflecting light as it changes throughout the cycles of day and night. The works appear as ‘glitches’ in the landscape.

an audio interview of the process behind our project.

watch a video of an interview with us working on our project in my studio.

mutable memories [2020-21]
melbourne, australia

mutable memories

project space: rmit
melbourne, australia

My MFA project during 2020-21. This is composed of my final project assesment, and student exhibtiion.

This project draws upon associative memory and how it responds to the dissemination of media images through sense impressions, such as colour. Through a combination of paint and lens-based media (such as photography and projection). Paint and colour are treated as an atmospheric light repeatedly scrubbed and layered over images, to create impressions that repeat and rearrange the picture. These paintings achieve a jewel-like depth of colour that has formed over time through multiple glazes of transparent paint. Small fragments of the photograph are at times exposed through the surface paint.

I glean snapshot photography from internet and archival sources, a place where private memories and experiences are made available to the public, and their original source of creation have been lost. For me, internet images are a source of ephemeral material, easy to source but the author becomes lost in their repetition and rediscovery.

I'm interested in the dynamic process of repetition and recollection, using the suggestion of an image and glossy surface that captures conditions that surround it (like light) to bring us to the present. The split between the present and the past (as expressed through the medium of media images) aims to take us away to another place within our own mental atlases.

sowing seeds [2017]
tokyo, japan & los angeles, usa

sowing seeds

vacant space
los angeles, usa

es gallery


I was interested in the still life as a form of painting genre that is often overlooked. Using the watermelon as a departure point I created this exhibition in a vacant space, typically not a gallery, typically not anything.

Using the melon seed I researched it's various contexts over time. Material was sourced from history and science books, art history painting, religious & spiritual, cultural stereotypes among others.

I was interested in activating a space that was largely neutral with a sensory pink. It was surrounded by dive bars, Chinese restaurants and located within the "tide pool" of a strip mall along a small boulevard in East Hollywood.

The works pose as seeds of time as they explore the fruit of their forbearer. Following this exhibition and documentation, I shipped the work to Tokyo where I was lucky to have another space organised to explore a "sister" exhibition. This allowed me to rethink the installation and a shifted context for the work as its environment changed.

On conclusion of the exhibition I gave all the artwork to my friends.

© Simon De Boer