- Catalogue Number
- Title and Date
- The chambers (facade)
2002; reworked and retitled 2006
- Subsequent Title(s)
- The chamber
- Description of Featured Image
- A street view showing a city building behind a hoarding, its rusticated facade filled with classical ornament and a giant sculptured head. In front of the hoarding is a car, whose unseen occupant is being given directions by a man who points leftward with his outstretched arm.
- Where Made
- Alphington, Melbourne
- Medium Category and Technique
- Intaglio Print: Etching and burnishing on copper
- Wove paper. Identified papers: Magnani paper with watermark: Romanesque ‘M’ with cross above; Velin Arches paper; Somerset paper.
Image size: 200 x 148 mm
Matrix size: 200 x 148 mm
- Artist’s Record Number
- RAE.143 (2002, 2005), RAE.161 (2006)
- Printer(s) and Workshop(s)
- All state impressions printed by Rick Amor in his Alphington studio. First edition printed by Rosalind Atkins at the Australian Print Workshop, Fitzroy (Melbourne). Second edition printed by Andrew Gunnell at Chrysalis Publishing Studio, East Melbourne.
- Summary Edition Information
- Five states. Two editions. First edition: edition of ten numbered impressions, 2005 (The chambers). Second edition: edition of thirty numbered impressions, 2006 (The chamber).
- University of Melbourne 2014: Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne, Parkville (Melbourne), The Piranesi Effect, 20 February – 25 May 2014, no. 36 (2006).
- Robert Lindsay, Rick Amor: Standing in the Shadows (exh. cat.), McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria, 2005, p. 11. For an illustration of the painting The chambers, 2002, see cat. no. 63, p. 74.
- Gavin Fry, Rick Amor, Beagle Press, Roseville, NSW, 2008, p. 133.
- State Library of Victoria, Melbourne: ten state impressions, numbered 1-1 through 1-4, 2-1, 2-4, 3-1, 3-4, 4-1, 4-4, all dated 2002 (as Facade); ed. 2/10, dated 2005 (as The chambers); one state impression, numbered 1-1, dated 2006 (The chamber); AP 1/2, AP 2/2, both dated 2006 (The chamber).
- National Gallery of Australia, Canberra: ed. 1/10, dated 2005 (as The chambers) (2007.709).
This etching is based on an oil titled The chambers, 2002, but is in reverse direction and omits the tall tree seen at the right in the painted composition (Lindsay 2005). Amor found his initial inspiration in a building belonging to New York University, in Irving Place, New York, but he changed its proportions and some of its decorative features, combining them with elements of public architecture closer to home: the state Parliament Houses in Melbourne and Sydney. The giant head in the print harks back to imperial Roman sculpture, the architectural fantasies of Piranesi, and – less distant in time – Fascist monuments. Amor himself sees the head as an evocation of Orwell’s Big Brother.
The initial version of the etching (2002–05) was conceived in tonal terms, with a progressive darkness threatening to overwhelm the subject. However, burnishing in the fifth and final state brought the etching closer to its genesis in the painting of 2002. The geometry of the facade became clearer and the hoarding lost its uninterrupted surface, to become, instead, composed of square panels, as in the painting.
Of the painting, Robert Lindsay has written: ‘The shroud-like scaffolding encases an historical building which is part of New York University, while the source of the Fascist sculpture is Italy. Amor here speculates on the origins of both and the inevitable march of time through which the patron and the identity of the sculpture have been long forgotten, again the leitmotif [is] vanitas’ (Lindsay 2005).
- Cityscapes & streetscapes, George Orwell, New York, Piranesi
Record last updated 17/09/2017