Born and lives in Sydney, Australia. David Manley studied at the College of Fine Arts (COFA) UNSW, majoring in Photo-media and graduating in 2012 with 1st Class Honours and the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence. Manley was a finalist in the 2011, 2013 and 2015 Bowness Photography Prize and the 2014 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award. In 2012 he was a winner of the coveted Head On Photographic Portrait Prize. Solo and group exhibitions include Black Eye Contemporary Photography Space, Darlinghurst, The Australian Centre for Photography, Paddington, Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane, Customs House, Sydney, QUAD Gallery Derby, United Kingdom, Ulsan Cultural Arts Centre, Ulsan, South Korea, FORM Gallery at Midland Atelier Fremantle, Western Australia, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Perth, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, Blender Gallery, Paddington and Perspektiva at COFA Space/UNSW, Paddington. Manley was also one of sixteen Australian artists selected for the publication Hijacked III Contemporary Photography from Australia and the UK which was published in 2012. In June 2014 Manley attended the Ulsan International Photography Festival in Ulsan, South Korea as an Australian representative artist. David Manley has recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts achieving 1st Class Honours and is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales Art and Design.
Ambivalent Structures interrogates the latent connection of the bunker with the urban terrain, channeling its psychological influence while addressing contemporary anxieties regarding power and control. Military bunker facilities have long been the subject of intense interest for artists and architects, particularly since the end of the Cold War. Their presence has been linked to discourse surrounding developments in modernism, minimalism in art, and architectural brutalism. Bunker construction occurred on a massive scale during the Second World War with the building of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, a series of fortifications that was intended to stretch along the entire west coast of Europe and Scandinavia. The Atlantic Wall’s construction employed new types of reinforced cement moulding technologies that are still in use. Imposing and monolithic, these structures retain a deeply ambivalent nature, as they can be at once places of security and danger, of refuge and warfare, and indeed of life and death. Cold War secrecy served only to heighten the bunker’s psychological power within the civilian population; their hidden presence fuelled the imagination of populist culture of the time in films such as Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove (1964), while writers such as J.G. Ballard pondered their influence on urban infrastructure and the post-war utopian aspirations of city planners in works such as Concrete Island (1974) and Crash (1973). Here, manifestations of the bunker and its effect on the psychology of Ballard’s characters were conjured through the run-down tenement tower blocks, motorway exit ramps, multi-story car parks and pedestrian underpasses of the built environment. Ambivalent Structures is a visual and textural exploration of the aftermath of modernity through its attendant buildings and structures that are inextricably linked to the violence of war, pondering their psychological influence on the individual.