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July 21 – 10 September, 2023

Dark Chamber – Renato Colangelo

Supported By

Artist Renato Colangelo has constructed a working Camera Obscura (Latin: Camera = Chamber ; Obscura = Dark) within the CCP.

You are invited to walk-in to a darkened chamber casting an image of the outside world – reversed and upside down. The ‘Dark Chamber‘ is the very starting point of photography, the moment where darkness meets light, where the interior and exterior worlds meet and co-exist. A simple yet magical process of harnessing light, and experiencing the moment, ‘Dark Chamber‘ gives audiences the opportunity to stand ‘inside’ a camera, and watch how light and dark interact to allow us to record and observe the world. The ‘Dark Chamber‘ is womb-like and poetic, and CCP welcomes you to experience this dream-like, beautiful and moving installation.

More info: the relevant optical principles for a Camera Obscura were already recognised in the fourth century BC by Mohist mathematicians in China and by Aristotle (384 -322 BC). Aristotle observed that during an eclipse the semi-hidden sun, seen through the foliage of a plane tree was reflected as multiple, reversed images; the principle of the Camera Obscura is in fact a natural phenomenon. The crown of the tree contained a multitude of Dark Chambers. Around 1038 the Arabian scholar Ibn al Haitham (965-1040) became the first person to accurately describe the principle of the Camera Obscura. In its mathematical form, linear perspective is generally believed to have been devised about 1415 by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446). Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) made a comparative study of the functioning of the human eye and of the Camera Obscura. Giovanni Battista della Porta (1535-1615), writing in his Magica Naturalis (Natural Magic, 1558), suggested using a Camera Obscura as an aid for drawing.

Renato is a visual artist whose practice is focused and concerned with cultural identity, social awareness, anthropology and experimentation within different mediums. He predominantly works in the medium of photography, video and large-scale installations including several walk in Camera Obscuras, ‘Standpoint’ for Eyes Lies & Illusions at ACMI in 2007 and ‘Locked Treasure Room’ 2011 at Centennial Gardens Sydney. He’s been exhibiting since 1997 with solo and group exhibitions including residencies in Italy and Australia along with being the recipient of various awards including the prestigious Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 2002. He continues the use of analogue techniques in the production of his artwork and runs Nero Darkroom, where he delivers workshops in all aspects of analogue photography. Renato is also an arts worker, dedicated to working with contemporary artists in the printing, fabrication and production of their artwork within the studio and gallery environment.