A Beautiful Hesitation by Fiona Pardington, with Kriselle Baker and Aaron Lister and others (Victoria University Press, 2016), 264 pp., $70
Have I got time to look at this? Books of pictures always seem to have a time signature built into them, and from that point of view Fiona Pardington’s A Beautiful Hesitation is a very long book. The ‘score’ is clearly Adagio. You have to give it the time to unfold, to enable you to engage with at least some of the layers of meaning and beauty it contains. A Beautiful Hesitation has, for me, a whole weave of significations; it must be approached slowly and with respect. There is no quick spasm of ecstasy here; we’re in for the long haul.
Peter Ireland remarks in a slightly bitchy review of the accompanying exhibition on the EyeContact website that it is unusual and possibly dangerous to do mid-career survey exhibitions, feeling that they can ‘suddenly clarify nagging doubts about an artist’s general approach, and begin to settle questions about the depth of the philosophic and conceptual claims made for their work’. Seems a good idea to me here, actually, as it does mark a kind of mid-career milestone in this artist’s chequered and varied output. As for the book, sumptuous and well made it certainly is, with immaculate reproductions, good editorial calls, and an important typographic contribution by the artist’s brother (and also a photographer) Neil Pardington. [Read more…]