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Janet Laurence - The Life World

Year: 2011, 30 mins
Code: COO-Janet

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A good art documentary is essential every now and then. Janet Laurence’s art translates in the medium perfectly. The ideas and their execution are conveyed beautifully in this film. Laurence’s art on TV, is as marvelous as a Polar bear
Ruth Ritchie, Sydney Morning Herald.

Janet Laurence  is one Australia’s  most important artists working today, having presented exhibitons, installations and projects in Australia, Japan and other countries in the Pacific.

Made over eight years, The Life World traces the inspiration and creation of her public installations from Homebush, to Sydney Museum, the amazing Synagogue windows, the Australian War Memorial in Hyde Park London and Melbourne City Council’s revolutionary new building CH2. An informed passion for conservation, architecture, science and the natural world fills her work.


Janet has a fervent obsession for the natural world. She uses elements of the environment to show us the hidden beauty and dangerous fragility of both the natural and cultural worlds. Working like a modern day alchemist, she experiments with materials, transforming matter from the mundane to the extraordinary, creating spaces where secret information normally hidden from us, gets revealed like an X-Ray.  Her studio is like an artist’s laboratory.  She is artist, alchemist and architect, who constructs, initiates and transforms.

About the filmmakers:

Director – Richard Mordaunt
Producers – Richard Mordaunt, Kim Mordaunt, Diana Barbara

Richard Mordaunt is one of Australia’s most experienced documentary film-makers with 40 years experience producing feature documentaries in Australia and the UK. Throughout the 60s and 70s, using the first lightweight cameras, he photographed and directed award winning documentaries in the UK. House of the Rising Sun, Voices, Sweet Soul Music, Ireland Behind the Wire, Seeds of a New Life.
In 1979 he moved to Australia with his partner Diana Barbara and they continued to make documentaries for the Australian and International market. 

Exploring notions of art, science, imagination, memory, and loss, Janet Laurence’s practice examines our physical, cultural and conflicting relationship to the natural world through both site specific, gallery and museum works. Working in varying mediums, Laurence creates immersive environments that navigate the interconnections between life world.

Her work explores what it might mean to heal, albeit metaphorically, the natural environment, fusing this sense of communal loss with a search for connection with powerful life-forces. Laurence’s work alerts us to the subtle dependencies between water, life, culture and nature in our eco-system. In the face of this, we do yearn for a form of alchemy, for the power of enchantment and transformation. Her work reminds us that art can provoke its audience into a renewed awareness about our environment.

Laurence has been a recipient of Rockefeller, Churchill and Australia Council Fellowships, and the Alumni Award for Arts, UNSW. Laurence was a Trustee of the Art Gallery of NSW, a former Board Member of the VAB Board of the Australia Council and was Visiting Fellow at the NSW University Art and Design.

Laurence was the Australian representative for the COP21/FIAC, Artists 4 Paris Climate 2015 Exhibition, exhibiting a major work – Deep Breathing: Resuscitation for the Reef – at the Muséum National D’Historie Naturelle, in Paris, France.

Janet Laurence is currently a visiting fellow of the 2016/2017 Hanse-WissenschaftKolleg (HWK) foundation fellowship.

Laurence’s work is included in many Museum, University and Corporate collections as well as within architectural and landscaped public places, worldwide.

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