Cover image of the review
Title image: Josef Stanislaw Ostoja-Kotkowski, *Nymphex*, 1966, gelatin silver photograph from electronic image, 50.6 x 60.8 cm, Art Gallery of New South Wales, gift of Dr George Berger 1978. © Estate of J. S. Ostoja-Kotkowski. Photo: Christopher Snee, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Josef Stanislaw Ostoja-Kotkowski: Solid Light

13 Jul 2019
1 Apr - 14 Jul 2019

Why is Stanislaw Ostoja-Kotkowski not more widely recognised as the post-war modernist pioneer he evidently was? His work was at the international vanguard in terms of his experiments with sound and light, with clear links to the Zero group in Germany and their wider international network of affiliated artists including the Gutai group in Japan and the Nouveaux Réalistes in France. It is rich enough to have sustained numerous scholarly studies, which claim him variously as Australia's first video artist, the first to use lasers in a stage production, an innovator in creative microcomputing, and not just the first artist to create electronically generated images in Australia but also one of only a tiny few to do so in the early 1960s anywhere in the world.

Yet for all that he is something of a cult figure among artists and scholars concerned with the intersection between art and technology. Ostoja-Kotkowski is far from a household name. No state or national gallery afforded him a survey during his lifetime and to date none have done so posthumously. Kudos is due to the McClelland Gallery for being the first to grant him this honour, twenty-five years after his death, and for producing a fine catalogue to accompany the exhibition.

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