A major retrospective of one of Australia’s most important post-war street photographers, Ingeborg Tyssen, has opened at Monash Gallery of Art. One of the great Australian photographers of her generation, Tyssen was generally overlooked by critics during her lifetime in favour of her male counterparts.
Ingeborg Tyssen: Photographs spans 20 years of creative output from 1974–94, and shows Tyssen to be a highly original observer of modern life. Her candid photographs of pedestrians in city streets, young kids playing in suburban swimming pools, and images of the Australian and American landscape reveal an artist whose concerns were at the forefront of Australian photographic practice.
MGA Gallery Director Shaune Lakin: “Tyssen’s story is one of the great stories of Australian photography. Her arrival in Australia at the age of 12 as an immigrant from her native Holland and her struggle with displacement and new language and landscape is one that many Australians are familiar with. Being one of Australia’s first street photographers, she made a significant contribution to the history of Australian photography. Her experience of migration gave Tyssen a rare ability to observe people in their environment. Her earliest photographs, taken in the city streets, fun parks, and suburbs of 1970s were acute depictions of the urban isolation she felt in her new homeland. Her experience and pictures certainly remain relevant to contemporary Australia.”
Tyssen studied photography under John Williams, who became her husband. She was a co-founder of the Photographers Gallery in South Yarra in 1975.
In 1995 the Art Gallery of New South Wales presented a mid-career survey of her work and she continued to exhibit in commercial galleries and museums in Australia and abroad until she died as a result of a motor accident in 2002. In her obituary, critic Robert McFarlane wrote: “With Tyssen's death, Australia has lost one of the most talented photographers from the postwar generation…The originality and lack of ego in these images will ensure their enduring place in the history of the medium.”
Ingeborg Tyssen: Photographs is on now at the Monash Gallery of Art (860 Ferntree Gully Rd, Wheelers Hill, Victoria) and will run until 3 February 2012. The exhibition is curated by Sandra Byron and is a travelling exhibition from Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre, NSW.
Taronga Zoo, 1974, gelatin silver print, collection of the Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen, courtesy John Williams & Sandra Byron Gallery. Photo by Ingeborg Tyssen.
Ryde Pool, Sydney 1981, gelatin silver print, collection of the Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen, courtesy John Williams & Sandra Byron Gallery. Photo by Ingeborg Tyssen.
ALL IMAGES © Estate of Ingeborg Tyssen