> Photogenic Drawing

Justine Varga / Photogenic Drawing


Australian artist Justine Varga creates photographic works from an intimate exchange between a strip of film and the world that comes to be inscribed on it. Employing analogue techniques, sometimes using a camera and sometimes not, her exposures capture instantaneous moments or distill lengthy durational periods.

Her working process complicates both the act of looking and the experience of time. The photographs that result are therefore documents of transformation and remembering, being simultaneously situational and autobiographical.


Varga graduated with Honours from the National Art School in Sydney in 2007. In recent years her work has appeared in a number of important public exhibitions. In 2016, it featured in Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph, curated by Geoffrey Batchen for the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Zealand, a survey exhibition that included the work of over 50 artists from 12 countries, and also in New Matter: Recent Forms of Photography, a survey of the work of young photographers curated by Isobel Parker Philip at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney. Varga was also nominated for the 2016 Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography, an international juried award at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. In 2015, her photographs featured in Australian Art: Now at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra and were also showcased at Paris Photo. Among several exhibitions scheduled for 2017, she has been commissioned to mount solo exhibitions at the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney and Sydney Contemporary, Australasia’s premier contemporary art fair. A body of her work will also be presented in Grounded: Contemporary Australian Art at the National Art School Gallery in Sydney.

Varga’s photographs have regularly won prestigious awards. In 2014, she was the recipient of the Australia Council London Studio Residency and was awarded the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia Primavera Veolia Acquisitive Prize. Varga has twice been given the juried Josephine Ulrick & Win Shubert Foundation for the Arts Photography Award, in 2013 and 2016.

In 2012, her work was selected for Primavera: Young Australian Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and exhibited in Flatlands: Photography and Everyday Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales. Portfolios of her work have recently featured in Australia’s national journal of photography, Photofile, and in Art Monthly Australasia, and she has had an essay published in Loose Associations, issued by The Photographers’ Gallery in London. Earlier this year, Varga completed the Acme Associate Residencies Programme in London, with the support of the Australia Council and Create New South Wales. Her work has been acquired for the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Monash Gallery of Art, and Artbank, among others, as well as for private collections in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and France.

Recently Varga was announced the recipient of the 2017 Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture. Varga’s essay about her winning photograph Maternal Line can be read on Photomonitor here.

Varga’s current exhibition Photogenic Drawing continues until 21st October at ACP Project Space in Darlinghurst, NSW, details here.