Patrick Pound

Senior Lecturer in Art
Course Director: Creative Arts Honours, MCA

Patrick Pound is an artist whose works are held in numerous public collections including: the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Museum of New Zealand and the Auckland Art Gallery.

Pound’s creative practice-led research focuses on how things, and collections of things, can be found, and made, to hold ideas. He generates works with collections at their core. He has written: “To collect is to gather your thoughts through things.” His work interrogates and makes trouble for the existing theories and practices of collection and curation, and critically engages with ideas of material culture. Through his creative practice he seeks to, quite literally, put ‘things’ to the test. He is not interested in simply activating existing public gallery collections but instead, in making new meanings of, and from those collections, and in generating new collections for the explicit purpose of testing how collections of things can variously hold and express ideas. As well as collections of things, he has been amassing one of Australia’s largest and most diverse collections of vernacular photographs, which he assembles categorically as new artworks that demand that we re-think photography.

Pound activates, and makes trouble for, public gallery and museum collections with his own collections of things. In 2015 he intervened in the Percy Grainger Museum, The University of Melbourne. He installed a ‘Museum of Falling’ at Gertrude Contemporary, Octopus 15: Lost and Profound, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham. Pound also assembled a vast ‘Museum of Holes’ from the collections of the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Museum, and from his own collections of things that variously held or expressed an idea of the hole. In 2014 he rethought the collections of the Lenton Parr Library at the University of Melbourne’s V.C.A. His 2013 installation ‘The Gallery of Air’ was part of the National Gallery of Victoria’s ‘Melbourne Now’ exhibition and is now in their permanent collection.

Pound was one of eight living artists (in collaboration with Rowan McNaught), included in ‘The Photograph and Australia’, the largest historical survey of Australian Photography, which was curated by Judy Annear and held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and then the Queensland Art Gallery. Pound has held over fifty solo exhibitions and has been in more than seventy curated exhibitions. Some recent examples that employ his vernacular photography collection works include: ‘The Big Sleep’, which was an installation for Stills Gallery at Paris Photo in the Grand Palais, 2015; ‘Transmission: Art in the Age of Television’, National Gallery of Victoria, curated by Maggie Finch; and ‘Episodes – Australian Photography Now’, Dong Gang Photography Museum, Korea, curated by Natalie King, 2014. His work was also included in ‘The Small infinite’ at John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton, curated by Vince Dziekan and Lanfranco Aceti in 2014.

Pound is also interested in the application of technology in relation to establishing, sorting and interpreting collections. In 2015, for The Melbourne Museum, he contributed a project to Ars Incognita: A Field Guide to Cultural Geographies (Natural and Artificial, Real and Imaginary) of Melbourne, curated by Vince Dziekan.

Pound also has a doctorate in art history, from the University of Melbourne, specializing in the history of photography as the medium of record and its relationships with narrative and literature. His traditional research areas include the intersections of narrative and photography with a focus on the collaboration of the novelist Henry James with the Pictorialist photographer A.L. Coburn, and the documentary style photo-sequences of Walker Evans, in particular, his work alongside the writer James Agee. Pound also specializes in the histories of vernacular photography, the invention of the idea of documentary style, and the work of Eugène Atget.

Pound’s research fields:

1. The history of photography and the invention of ‘documentary style’. His particular expertise is in the photographic works of the Pictorialist A.L. Coburn, the proto-documentarian Eugène Atget and the inventor of the idea of documentary style photography, Walker Evans. He also has a strong research interest in the work of Henry James with a particular (but by no means exclusive) focus on his collaboration with Coburn for the New York Edition (1907-9).

2. Text and image relations with a particular focus on the history of photography in relation to literature, especially the role of photographs in literary works.

3. Vernacular photography and visual culture, including the history of vernacular photography. Pound examines recently redundant forms of photography, from amateur snaps to the archives of defunct newspapers. He has a related interest in the emerging field of the transmission of images, in particular, the sorting, searching and sharing mechanisms of digital repositories and platforms and their effects on our readings of analogue and digital photography in the Internet era.

In relation to these research areas Pound is working on a book on Coburn and James and the NYE; a book on Walker Evans and narrative; and a book of Findings from Vernacular photography. He is also researching the early photographic representations of petits métiers and framing them in terms of what he calls a ‘prehistory’ of what has come to be called street photography.


Patrick Pounds Publications

Solo Exhibitions

Patrick Pound at the Grainger Museum

The Percy Grainger Museum at the University of Melbourne,

23 July 2015 – 30 August 2015

 The Museum of Holes

Catlemaine Art Gallery and Museum, Castlemaine State Festival,

March 13th to 22nd 2015

Re-reading: Patrick Pound at the Lenton Parr Library

Lenton Parr Library, University of Melbourne,

July 17-30 2014

Small World: New works with old photographs

Stills Gallery, Sydney,

April 1- 2 May 2015

Reconnections. From the Markov chain to the mark of Cain

Station Gallery

South Yarra, Victoria

5th March — 26th March 2016

Photography and air

Stills Gallery, Sydney

18th May to 18th June 2016

Photography and Air 2016 consists of numerous found photographs of people and things that are in some way affected by the wind; from a candle in the breeze to a hovering plane, a yacht’s billowing sail to a young woman at the beach, her hair blown by the breeze. Images are selected from a vast array of sources that include defunct newspaper archives and abandoned family albums. While disparate in origin, together they form a prosaic yet poetic portrait. Pound’s interest in the idea of photographing something you can’t see extends to other works in this exhibition where he pairs photographs to capture the time between them.

Curated Group Exhibitions:

The Big Sleep

Paris Photo, The Grand Palais, Paris

November 2015

Curated by Bronwyn Rennex.

Resulting Publications:
The Long Sleep of Photography.

Daniel Palmer, in ‘The Big Sleep’, (illustrated book), 2015. Casebound limited edition (50 copies), paperback edition 150 copies published for Paris Photo, 2015.

Dead or Alive?

Disquieting Photographs to Haunt Your Dreams. Sean O’Hagan, The Guardian UK. LINK

The Thing that Feels

Galerie Pompom, Sydney.

Nov 18th – Dec 6th 2015

Curated by Talia Linz

  The Photograph and Australia

In collaboration with Rowan McNaught

Art Gallery of New South Wales

21 March – 8 June 2015

Curated by Judy Annear

This Art Gallery of New South Wales exhibition travelled to the Queensland Art Gallery

July 4-Oct 11 2015

Queensland Art Gallery

November 12th-15th 2015

In association with the Exhibition, “The photograph and Australia” Book was released, containing a landmark work of research and analysis:

Resulting Publications:

The Mistake in Photography: Patrick Pound, Jackson Eaton and the Paradoxical Self Image.

Dissect, 2, Daniel Palmer, (illustrated), p. 15-32.

The Photograph and Australia.

Essays by Judy Annear, Daniel Palmer, Geoffrey Batchen et al, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2015.

Note: A symposium was held in conjunction with this landmark exhibition and Pound presented a paper: ‘Unhinged Photographs’. Trafficking Images: Histories and Theories of Photographic Transmission, Art Gallery of New South Wales in assoc. with The Power Institute for Art and Visual Culture, Sydney, 2015.


Transmission: Legacies of the Television Age

National Gallery of Victoria,

May 15th –  Sept 13th 2015

Curated by Maggie Finch

Resulting Publications:

Transmission: Art in the Age of Television.

National Gallery of Victoria, Maggie Finch, Adrien Marten. (Illustrated). This is available as an ebook.




The Margaret Lawrence Gallery,  University of Melbourne.

April 10th- May 16th 2015.

Curated by Alex Gawronski and Biljana Jancic,

Scholarly Writing on Pound’s creative practice:


essays by Alex Gawronski, Astrid Lorange, Sean Lowry, The Margaret Lawrence Gallery, university of Melbourne.

Ars Incognita: A Field Guide to Cultural Geographies (Natural and Artificial, Real and Imaginary) of Melbourne

The Melbourne Museum

Oct 5th -8th 2015

Curated by Vince Dziekan.

Octopus 15: Lost and Profound

Museum of Falling

Gertrude Contemporary,

May 22nd– July 4th 2015

Curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham.

From the Collection

Warrnambool Art Gallery and Museum,

April 4th – June 11th 2015

Curated by Emily Cormack.

The readers: An installation by Patrick Pound

The Art Gallery of New South Wales Edmund and Joanna Capon Research Library and archive,

21 Mar – 8 Jun 2015

Curated by Judy Annear.

This installation coincided with The Photograph and Australia.