Harlequinade

Harlequinade is simple and playful, as its title suggests. Here the found photograph is a tiny contact print of a negative. The curtain behind the pin-up model has a distinctive harlequin patten that I have reproduced (incorporating the original image’s visual distortions) as an actual curtain in the space of the gallery.

In terms of scale, the new curtain appears at a size that sits somewhere between that which it occupies on the contact-print paper and the actual one of the original object: a new object stuck in a kind of limbo. The drape becomes a back-drop or a prop for theatricality, play and performance.

Harlequinade was first exhibited in Offcut at The Ravestijn Gallery, Amsterdam (NL) in 2016.

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Offset included three new artworks which extracted components from within a photographic image and rendered them in three-dimensional, material space. The source images for the artworks were ‘found’ vintage erotic photographs. In each, a fabric that features in the original photograph is the point of departure for the new work. The eroticised woman is here intimately bound up with the pattern of the fabric close to her. Erotic photography could be said to be all about having a ‘virtual’ experience; but paradoxically that experience is often about the fantasy of touch.

To produce these works, which straddle conventional photography and installation, the chosen pin-up photographs were first digitised. A new textile pattern was then designed and produced based on the scanned information of the original, analogue image’s fabric. The newly-designed pattern incorporates and repeats the photographic quirks of the source image (such as foreshortening); it also reproduces, in its flatness, the source textile’s creases and folds. Once the fabrics have been printed, they are set in dialogue with the photographic image from which they’ve been extrapolated, with the space of the gallery, and with the viewer. Thus the fantasy world of the image is made present in the real world of the gallery space, albeit in ‘warped’ or imperfect form.

Download a PDF document about the exhibition Offcut here.