New Murray Fredericks exhibition hits Melbourne

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The Salt Lake, a major survey exhibition of the work of iconic Australian landscape photographer Murray Fredericks, is set to open at Melbourne's MAPh this week. 

The exhibition brings together Frederick's previous projects Salt, Array, Vanity and his most recent series, Blaze.

Murray Fredericks, West Portal Dusk, 2000.
Murray Fredericks, West Portal Dusk, 2000.

In 2003 Murray Fredericks first visited Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, one of the world’s largest salt lakes, located in the deserts of central Australia.

Fredericks has since returned 31 times over the past two decades, exploring perceptual states of being. His chapters, or ‘cycles’ as he calls them, have explored interventions with mirrors, and more recently fire, capturing infinity and the void through the lens of contemplative minimalism.

Murray Fredericks, Salt, 2006.
Murray Fredericks, Salt, 2006.

‘When I first visited the lakebed, my initial impressions were those of standing within a monotonous, seemingly infinite wasteland," he recalls.

"The mind struggled to familiarise itself with the environment as there were no obvious ‘features’ or ‘points of interest’ to break up the surface."

"Navigation was by GPS, compass or the stars (all three methods were used) as once the edge of the lake disappeared over the horizon, there were no visual locators or markers to guide the way further out onto the lake surface or to show the way back. The experience of being out there in the centre for long periods has a very profound effect on your mental state.

Murray Fredericks, Blaze, 2023.
Murray Fredericks, Blaze, 2023.

"It’s that effect, the quality of the emotional and metaphysical experience that I hope these images convey."

Angela Connor, Senior Curator, Museum of Australian Photography says Fredericks works traverse time and place, frequently utilising weather, reflection, perspective, light and darkness to transcend the literal matter of the subject itself.

‘Curatorially, the exhibition is divided across two spaces. The first space exhibits the Salt works. In the second gallery space are works predominantly taken in the early 2000s. The late 1990s and early 2000s were formative years for Fredericks, where his interest in Eastern philosophy developed alongside his research into minimalism and post minimalism," she explains.

The exhibition opens on 25 November and runs until 18 February 2024, with an exhibition opening event on Saturday 25 November, 1pm – 3pm.

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