Collected Histories

Lauren Berkowitz Collected Histories

About the artist

'My art is one of retrieval, of natural and found materials that have poetic resonance.' Lauren Berkowitz, 1994.

Lauren Berkowitz (born 1965) lives and works in Melbourne. Berkowitz has exhibited across commercial and institutional spaces within Australia and internationally; galleries include the National Gallery of Victoria, the Heide Museum of Modern Art, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Berkowitz studied sculpture at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne and later received a Masters in Fine Arts (Sculpture) at the School of Visual Arts, New York.

Lauren Berkowitz creates mostly ephemeral and site-specific installation works. She describes her art as one of retrieval and works with natural and found materials, Evoking the passage of time and our place within it. Berkowitz seeks inspiration from the modernist art of the 1960s and 1970s and connections to her Jewish heritage. Often inspired by the landscape but troubled by its degradation, she recycles materials and themes into environmental narratives as an act of regeneration.

About the work

In 1994, Berkowitz researched the City of Stonnington Council Prahran archives for six months. Collected Histories documents public and private histories of Prahran from the 1870s to 1994, featuring photographs of past lives and unmarked events. Small yet meaningful moments, such as women working at home, become a homage to life's everyday and domestic nature. People from the Boonwurrung Indigenous group who inhabited the area sit alongside images of colonial settlers. Collected Histories embraces Prahran's multi-cultural diversity and changing social face.

Collected Histories was also made into a publication. It was designed by Fabio Ongerato Design and is available from Printed Matter New York.

Did you know?

Whilst sifting through hundreds of documents, Lauren Berkowitz found material on her own family, who had established a successful furniture business in Stonnington.


Make sure when you visit Collected Histories, you do a tour of the rest of the library. You will see a variety of striking art pieces that, as Collected Histories, are part of the City of Stonnington Contemporary Collection.