This exhibition takes its inspiration from Albert Tucker’s night images, the earliest of which recorded the mysterious lighting effects of Melbourne’s wartime ‘brown-out’ in the 1940s and the clandestine activities that Tucker witnessed after dark on the city’s shadowy streets.
It includes modern and contemporary works which reveal a varied range of conceptual and aesthetic possibilities within the nocturne theme: from Tucker’s surreal encounters on lamp-lit streets to Charles Blackman’s poetic reflections of moonlight on water, and Peter Booth’s sublime apocalyptic visions. Darkness, often pierced by light, is used in many of the works as a metaphor for diverse aspects of the human condition—including fear, loneliness, solitude, serenity and wonder.
The works in After Dark: Nocturnes from the Heide Collection range in style, mood and intent and are rich in interpretative potential. Some reveal hidden lives behind dark corners, others evoke nostalgia and longing, a few remind us of our nightmares, and others compel us to dream.