David Rosetzky
Robert Cook


[The] half-life-size figures in the installation Commune (2003) are bound by an illuminated rope. Though this bond is dazzling and appealing it makes us ask: is their unity oppressive? Is it forced? Does it chafe against, hem in, their individuality? Even if it does, relationship is necessary – other people might envelop and smother us but they make us who we are. In this work the stylised blankness of Rosetzky’s subjects comes through with even greater force – they become shells, ever more remote and two-dimensional without the personal mental perambulations. What binds them now is a special kind of aura: the aura of style. As such, they are caught in the fictional inclusiveness of lifestyle magazines. Aloof and occupying a global aesthetic in the mode of early Wallpaper magazine, his folk have a calculated blandness constructed as a mode of connection, a way of relating – a kind of language.

Seen in this manner, Rosetzky’s model of the ‘peer-family’ group is complex and contradictory. Indeed, there is something Nietzschean about it. As Nietzsche wrote: ‘it is not in how one soul approaches another but in how it distances itself from another that I recognise their affinity and relatedness’.1 What we see in Rosetzky’s works, therefore, are the ways that we make spaces for ourselves in the world with others, and the silent and invisible bonds that pull us together and tie us down, and the voices we use to give this the shape of a life.


Robert Cook is Curator of Contemporary Art and Photography at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.

This text has been excerpted from an article originally published in Raised by Wolves, exhibition catalogue, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, 2007. Reproduced with permission.

1. Quoted in Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship, London: Verso, 1997, p 55.