July 2019

The luxury of detachment

Stuart Bailey

Photo by Yiorgo Yiannopoulos

Photo by Yiorgo Yiannopoulos


The ideas behind The luxury of detachment emerge from a habit of documenting posters encountered on the streets of Sydney’s inner-west. Usually, they are typical examples of community activism, relevant to national and local issues. These images can have a surprising impact despite being in competition with commercial advertising and graffiti that inundate the neighbourhood. In spite of their competition these small voices of resistance have an unexpected power.

Through a process of editing, defacing and re-printing, new images emerge. These works channel conflicting feelings concerning the effectiveness of resistant politics via the seemingly anachronistic format of the political poster. In turn they generate a tension between moments of political optimism (The Russian Revolution, French and U.S. political posters of the late 1960s) and political images of the moment that seem fatigued.