The Art of
Patrick Pound: Obsessively

Patrick Pound has adopted the role of a human search engine, uploading a torrent of ephemeral data for the browser to download.


Is making art obsessive behaviour? We’d argue it is, otherwise artists would stop after producing one artwork. Yet they don’t. They’re driven by the overwhelming need to make more, possibly in order to improve, maybe to disseminate a visual record of their humanity, to leave a lasting legacy or to unravel and make sense of life. The reasons are infinite, and it stands to reason that someone would follow this compulsion down the rabbit hole and make a career out of being an obsessive.

Aotearoa born and now a resident of Melbourne, Patrick Pound has taken full advantage of the old minimalist axiom ‘less is more’ and turned it on its head. Pound starts with a simple idea and then obsessively overpopulates the idea by sourcing found photographs, objects and ephemera that align with or illustrate the theme. Ordering them like a pseudo-scientific gathering of specimens, the items are pinned out and placed in display cases resembling the collections of a Victorian-era museum.

In 2017, the National Gallery of Victoria staged a major survey of Pound’s work, accompanied by a monograph. The title, Patrick Pound: The Great Exhibition, was a nod to the obsessive collecting of the Victorian-era and to The Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park, London, in 1851, the first in a series of world fairs that exhibited the best of culture and industry. It is an apt title, given Pound’s preference for collating ephemera into ordered pavilions and referring to these collections as ‘museums’.

It’s odd that Pound is often lumped in with photographers given that he doesn’t actually take photographs with a camera in the traditional sense. Rather, . .. Subscribe to read this article in full

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