Fiona Clark

Arnold Schwarzenegger—Mr Olympia 1981—Sydney

1981. Printed 2004
ektachrome print, edition of 2
1450mm x 760mm

signed Fiona Clark, dated 1981-October and printed 2004, January and inscribed Arnold 50% 3’1″ – 6’2″ and Mr Olympia, Sydney Opera House, winning Mr Olympia 7th time (in a row) in graphite lower edge verso

Provenance

Private Collection, Auckland.

Exhibitions

Another from the edition included in the following exhibitions:

Fiona Clark: For Fantastic Carmen, Artspace, Auckland, 2016.

Fiona Clark: Body Building, 40 Colour Photographs, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 1982.

Fiona Clark: Body Building, 40 Colour Photographs, Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, 1982.

Literature

Clark, Fiona, and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Body Building: An Exhibition of Colour Photographs. New Zealand: S.n., 1981.

Essay

In the statement accompanying her 1980 exhibition Body Building, in which this image appeared, Clark makes clear the documentary nature of her approach to imagemaking. ...

Read full text
Estimate $2,000 - $3,000
Achieved $1,993.25

Fiona Clark

Arnold Schwarzenegger—Mr Olympia 1981—Sydney

1981. Printed 2004

ektachrome print, edition of 2

signed Fiona Clark, dated 1981-October and printed 2004, January and inscribed Arnold 50% 3’1″ – 6’2″ and Mr Olympia, Sydney Opera House, winning Mr Olympia 7th time (in a row) in graphite lower edge verso

1450mm x 760mm

Auction N˚2

Estimate $2,000 - $3,000

Achieved $1,993.25

Footnotes
  1. Clark, Fiona, and Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Body Building : An Exhibition of Colour Photographs. New Zealand: S.n., 1981.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Artist’s talk at ArtSpace, 2016.

Body Building

by Andrew Clark

In the statement accompanying her 1980 exhibition Body Building, in which this image appeared, Clark makes clear the documentary nature of her approach to imagemaking. “The medium of photography for me deals with reality. It deals with ‘what is.’”¹ However, her position as an artist is far from that of a dispassionate observer—the position she occupies is participatory, even collaborative, as is evidenced by her assertion that “the responsibility of the photographer to the subject must be of prime importance.”² Fiona Clark’s body of work has always been concerned with the performative aspects of identity, as well as with the way people perceive and are perceived by the society they inhabit. This image of Arnold Schwarzenegger posing for the Mr. Olympia competition, held in Sydney in 1980, is a striking example of her work, and displays her capacity to convert documentary images into meditations on the construction and representation of human identities—whether sexual, political or cultural.

Clark’s interest in bodies and identities was present in her work from the outset. Studying at the Elam school of Fine Arts between 1972-75, Clark majored in sculpture, working initially in the field of performance art. In this field, some of her performances dealt with the subject of stripping, an interest which led to an engagement with Auckland’s drag queen scene.³ Clark’s documentation of the then-illegal subject of homosexuality led to her work being removed from the 1977 show The Active Eye, held at the Auckland Art Gallery, due to an obscenity charge relating to two of her images of transsexuals. However, Clark’s engagement with such then-taboo subject matter was predicated on a real friendship with, and understanding of, the people depicted in the images; these are not sensationalist documents, but images of friends and acquaintances, depicting the reality of their lived experience. Clark’s subsequent body of work, including the projects Body Building (1982), He Taura Tangata, binding people and places together (1986) andLiving With Aids (1989), display the artist’s ongoing concern with her “responsibility” towards the subjects of her work. Her 2016 show Fiona Clark: For Fantastic Carmen collects together a number of her early works, including some of the images removed from The Active Eye. Images in the show of people who have since died are marked by leaves inserted between wall and frame, reflecting the fact that this project, begun in the late ‘70s, is still ongoing, and involves a commitment to her subjects which is in some cases life-long.