UNSW Galleries

Paul Knight: L’ombre de ton ombre

The first major exhibition of Paul Knight in Australia, presenting new and recent photographic, sculptural and machine-learning works.


Event Details



Event Starts

Jul 11, 2024 10:00

Event Ends

Sep 8, 2024 17:00


UNSW Galleries


Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd, Paddington NSW

‘Paul Knight: L’ombre de ton ombre’ presents new and recent photographic, sculptural, and machine learning works that engage the artist’s relationship with his partner as an index of time, invoking the intimate present alongside the deep past and near future.

Knight’s ongoing photographic project, Chamber Music, records his life with his partner Peter. Since they met in 2009, the series has accumulated glimpses into the domestic space of their relationship, with its images created through varying degrees of pre-meditation and chance; often the camera timer is set so that it simply captures what it sees. 

While the artist’s relationship provides the material for Chamber Music, Knight’s hand-loomed bedsheets weave other stories into their fabric. Pursuing research into various measures of time, both scientific and narrative, Knight is fascinated by the hypothesis concerning the gravitational influence of a binary star system that triggered periodic meteor impacts on Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals. Geologically, this event is recorded in the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary as taking place sixty-five million years ago, and Knight takes comfort in humanity being simply another subsequent organisation of matter occupying only a slim chapter of this deep geological time. His textile works reference, through their combination of minimal colour and abstract compositions, the atmosphere of a binary star system and the conceptually and physically intimate measure between two bodies.

Alongside these photographic works and textile installations, Knight’s work Naked Souls, co-commissioned by UNSW Galleries, MUMA, and Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, engages machine learning technology to unfold a conversation between two chatbots in the gallery. Trained with a pre-existing archive consisting of every text message sent between the artist and his partner Peter in the first few years of their relationship, visitors will witness the bots communicating with each other for the duration of the exhibition—their dialogue evolving from the raw material of banal ‘everyday’ exchanges to the intensity of a forming relationship with its hunger for real physical contact. As Knight says, ‘perhaps the most complex and entangled of all human processing and response is the data generated by human love.’

Curators: José Da Silva, Director, UNSW Galleries, Sydney; Pip Wallis, Senior Curator, MUMA, Melbourne; and Hannah Mathews, CEO, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

The exhibition is accompanied by a new monograph co-published by UNSW Galleries, MUMA and Perimeter Books, and a limited-edition print, Savanna 2023, available to purchase via the MUMA online shop.

This exhibition explores themes of sexual intimacy. Please be advised that it contains adult content including nudity and sexually explicit images and language. Viewer discretion is advised. For further information, please contact UNSW Galleries.


‘Paul Knight: L’ombre de ton ombre’ is co-commissioned by Monash University Museum of Art | Melbourne where the exhibition was presented 7 October – 9 December 2023. Elements of the exhibition were included in the 18th Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Inner Sanctum and the exhibition tours the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, 26 October – 22 December 2024. The project features new works supported by the UNSW Galleries Commissioners Circle and MUMA Contemporaries.


Tile and Banner Image: Paul Knight, Untitled (Chamber Music) 2009–, Monash University Collection, Melbourne.


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