- Museum number
Camp at Tocumwal, New South Wales, Australia; with recumbent figure in foreground l, and group of figures taking a shower in an open corrugated-iron shed, water tank to right, and army utility block buildings in background. 1945
Watercolour and black wax crayon on artists' board
- Production date
Height: 450 millimetres
Width: 525 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from Stephen Coppel, 'Out of Australia: Prints and Drawings from Sidney Nolan to Rover Thomas', with a contribution by Wally Caruana on Aboriginal prints, BMP, 2011, no.26.
Friedeberger made this drawing in 1945 when he was based at Tocumwal on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. Like many of the 'Dunera' internees, he had been released from internment in 1942 on volunteering to join the Australian army as part of its non-combatant labour corps. At various periods during his service Friedeberger was detailed to Tocumwal to tranship goods from one rail gauge to the other.
This watercolour and crayon drawing, in keeping with Friedeberger's surrealist interests at the time, shows a nocturnal camp scene emanating from the experience of internment and army life. Alienation and displacement are evoked by the group huddled against corrugated iron sheeting and by the isolated recumbent figure. The eerie light and the stark huts in the background intensify the effect. For Friedeberger the ubiquity of corrugated iron and raised water tanks in the Australian outback presented a strange surreal spectacle.
'Camp' was shown at the David Jones Art Gallery in Sydney in April 1948 in the first exhibition of work by ex-servicemen and women training to be artists under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme. Friedeberger was enrolled as a student under this scheme at East Sydney Technical College in 1947, graduating with a diploma in painting at the end of 1949. This drawing was singled out as 'imaginatively conceived' by the art critic Harry Tatlock Miller in his review of the CRTS exhibition in the Sydney 'Sun'. It was later included in the National Gallery of Australia's exhibition Surrealism: Revolution by Night in 1993 and reproduced in the catalogue.
This work is reproduced in the émigré issue of "Art and Australia", vol.30 no.4 (Winter 1993), p. 479.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001 May-Sep BM, P&D, 'Paper Assets' (no cat.)
2011 May-Sept, BM, 'Out of Australia', cat. no.26.
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number