The Black Rose is the culmination of seven years’ work for Adelaide-based Magnum photographer Trent Parke. Featuring Trent Parke’s extraordinary photographs, light boxes, video, written texts and books, the exhibition leads viewers through a visual narrative that explores ideas concerning the ‘meaning of life’ from both a personal and universal level.
Trent Parke says ‘The Black Rose started in 2007 as an attempt to excavate my own histories, reflecting on a night when at the age of twelve I witnessed my mother die of an asthma attack while my dad was at his squash night. As a result I blanked out those first 12 years of my life and much more. After sidestepping the issue for 27 years, a chance incident forced my hand and I began writing and taking photographs as I sought to get those memories back. Autobiographical in nature, these letters and photographs narrate the story of my life past and present, but more importantly pose universal questions relating to our very existence.’
‘Why we are here? Where are we going, and what happens next?’
The photographs and texts in The Black Rose derive from the artist’s daily experiences and reflections – small seemingly inconsequential moments of life, that normally pass us by, began to take on greater significance and symbolic meaning. Seemingly random acts of chance and coincidence that occur on a daily basis, become entwined within a larger narrative relating to the past and future, both for him personally and for people in general.