L'Audace d'Annette

A photography exhibition by Lisa Barmby

Exhibition dates: 20 September -  17 October
Opening: Friday 20 September, 6:30pm to 8pm

To be officially opened by Peter Cox, former Curator of Australian Social History at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences), and curator of the 2016-2018 exhibition ‘Million Dollar Mermaid: Annette Kellerman’.

Alliance Française de Melbourne
51 Grey St, St Kilda


Lisa Barmby’s L’Audace d’Annette (The Audacity of Annette) presents 38 elaborately staged photographs and a six-metre collage that examine the audacious life and career of Annette Kellerman (1886 – 1975).

As an international celebrity at the turn of the 20th Century, Kellerman’s life as a marathon swimmer, fearless diver, vaudeville performer and silent movie superstar showed courage and innovation at every turn. When Annette, competed as the only female in the Paris Seine marathon, the crowd quickly fell in love with her, “Allez Miss!” they shouted. She was a proto feminist, using her physical prowess to enthral the world, provide for her family and fearlessly pursue her dream of a new life for women.

In this exhibition, Barmby, assisted by artist Tom Alberts, utilises multiple photographic scenes to restage and reimagine the ideas and image making of Annette Kellerman. L’Audace d’Annette traces the resonances and connections between artist and subject: the love of the sea, the theatre, costume design, the cinema, French culture, and vegetarianism amongst many others. It is a resonant restaging taking up themes of femininity, the body, nature, and social authority. Above all for Barmby, Annette Kellerman is an inspirational woman who symbolises courage, modern female sensibilities and friendship between Australia and France.

            Mer de Bonne Gentillesse                                        Alliance Amitié

                                                            Maîtresse de la Tempête

About Lisa Barmby

Lisa Barmby is an Australian artist, who has spent many years working and living in Europe. She lived in Paris from 1989-94 and studied a diploma of drama at the Ecole Florent. In 1997, she completed a Diploma of Visual Arts at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia and France. Recent awards and prizes include a Linden Innovators Award, 2009, a 2010 travel grant by the Ian Potter Cultural Trust and a residency at La Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, 2010. In addition to her practice as an artist, Barmby has worked in film and theatre. In 1996, Barmby produced, translated and performed in Le Bel Indifferent by Jean Cocteau. In 1998, awarded an Australia Council grant, Barmby translated and performed in S.E.A.M., Mallarmé Festival, Alliance Française de Melbourne. Over the last ten years, Barmby has also collaborated with her Australian artist husband, Tom Alberts, in an independent feature film-noir, The Big Kitty, (due for release 2019).

If you wish to know more about Annette Kellerman's life, you can watch this video:

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