Bruno Leti: Series: A life of images

Thomas Middlemost,Bruno Leti

Bruno Leti: Series: A life of images
Melbourne University Press
29 November 2022

Bruno Leti: Series: A life of images

Thomas Middlemost,Bruno Leti

A genuine original, in art and life Leti tends to work in series that hold a continuity and common inspiration similar to that of an artist’s book. The whole of the book - cover texture and holistic feel - is the artwork and to contemplate a single artwork in isolation is to neglect the forest for a tree.

Bruno Leti - Series lays bare a life of art, of intertwined visual and theoretical revelations, inspirations and chance encounters, prudently curated for the joy of discovery. Composed by both Leti and editor Thomas Middlemost, it is a longitudinal study of curiosities, with added observations by other contributors. Describing the inspirations for different series and laying out many of the artist’s works across time, Series revels in the continuing body of painting, printmaking and photography produced by this ever-productive elder statesman of monotype.


Bruno Leti: Series: A Life of Images examines enduring themes within the 60-year career of Australian artist Bruno Leti. The book is not so much a comprehensive catalogue of works as much as a study of Leti’s artistic process. The ‘series’ in the title is a fertile space in which a train of thought, technique or material can be stretched out and allowed to breathe.

Throughout the book, what stands out in sharp relief is Leti’s fervent material diversity, ranging from painting, photography, printmaking and drawing. Leti is revealed as a consistent and methodical artist, whose fascination with materiality, colour and form is unwavering. His works are both figurative and abstract, varying from photographic studies of lotus flowers in China to abstract oil paintings on marble fragments. His use of colour, however, is comparatively consistent: the monograph is brimming with sage, plum, and russet hues that persist across decades of work.

Leti’s work is enriched by frequent travel and underpinned with a classical sensibility, often informed by Italian culture, history and art. As editor Thomas Middlemost states, ‘the Australian landscape and place are the foundations of the work, over which his deep cultural, literary, environmental ... experiences are laid.’ Bruno Leti: Series: A Life of Images spans the extraordinary breadth of Leti’s career, revealing a prolific, ardent and thoughtful figure in Australian art.

Zoë Croggon is from Readings Carlton

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