Between 1994 and 1997 I made a series of large, site-specific installations in Central London. All of them used silhouettes, derived from photographs. The first, MODA
, was a response to my mother’s death, a search for memories of my time with her. I photographed a small Japanese doll in a kimono that I had been given by her as a child. I did not remember being given the doll, but in the endless pattern cutting this work entailed I began to remember another type of pattern cutting – for dressmaking, and the memory of being taught to sew by my mother.
The next four installations were made in an empty car show-room. In See Saw I became the doll from MODA, photographing myself with a cable-release in front of a wall of mirrors in the showroom. I cut 125 life-size silhouettes of myself in white paper, revolving endlessly in an empty building retreating into the self absorption of portraiture seen only by a mirror.
In Track I began to photograph other and to think about the social encounter that takes place on such occasions, the ways in which the camera (and by extension, the photographer) records and dictates the space for a private encounter - fleeting and anecdotal – to become public and fixed. With this installation, I built a ‘track’ of fluorescent lights, punctuated at its end by a single silhouetted figure, balancing on (or about to fall from) a pedestal.
Stand used black silhouettes to line the walls of the building, positioning them where one might expect to find columns in a classical façade but without the adjustment of perspective necessary to convincingly suggest that these figures are holding up the ceiling. Instead, they seem too large and too informal to take on the function of a caryatid.
no distance, the last installation in the show-room, borrowed from the conventions of film to present silhouetted figures derived from small narratives. Wishing to move away from the photographer/subject mode of taking pictures, I attached the camera to a long cable release and took a series of photographs that recorded an encounter between two people. The silhouettes from these pairs, place within the empty building and replicated in mirrors and reflections, shifted and reconfigured as the viewer watched from different points along the street.