The Light Down Here

Ashby, Lyn
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Object Detail

The Light Down Here
Production date
digital prints on Hahnemülle paper
33 x 24 x 1 cm (closed)
Object type
Interpretive text
Lyn Ashby migrated to Australia from the United Kingdom. Completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts in 1985, his work has been exhibited since 1984. His moving image works have featured in international film festivals since 1995 (Japan, Canada, United Kingdom) and his artists books have been featured in several international artist book events 2008 (United States, Lithuania, South Korea). He has been shown in several major institutions across Australia. Ashby’s works are held in the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate Britain in the United Kingdom; the New York Public Library, United States; and the Vilinus Bokartas Artists Book Collection, Lithuania. Australian collecting institutions include the National Gallery, National Library, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the state libraries for South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. In 2013 Ashby completed his studio-based PhD from Monash University. Ashby has been a long-time participant in the Libris Awards as conference presenter and entrant.

The Light Down Here (note the capitalisation as intended by the artist) is a small-edition print run, printed digitally, of a book inspired by Greek philosopher Plato’s allegory of the cave. It is told through the story of a group of people chained inside a cave all their lives, facing a blank wall. All they can see are shadows, caused by things out of their sight. For the prisoners, the shadows are their full reality as they cannot see what is creating them. Plato uses this allegory to compare “the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature.” In Ashby’s pages, viewers see a birds’ eye view of photographed figures who are casting shadows “in the true light of day,” to quote from the artist’s statement. From above, the viewer’s perspective is limited and, as the pages go on, figures and their shadows are more visibly manipulated by the artist.
Artspace Macaky, 2020
Credit line
Highly Commended, Libris Awards Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal National Artists’ Book Award 2020. Mackay Regional Council Art Collection, purchased through the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Fund 2020.
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