Thursday, July 30, 2009
La femme à tête de chou-fleur
Mhairi-Clare Fitzpatrick and Robyn Hoonhout: Words Fail You
George Fraser Gallery
30 July - 1 August 2009
The pairing of these two Elam photographers is an interesting one because they are so different. One makes lightboxes for her images (backlit duratrans) that even when featuring living people, still in this context look like consumerable commodities for sale. The other shows pairs of women at work, in their places of employment, or in clubs, or neutral public spaces. There is no consistent pattern. The lighting conditions and the contextualising visual narrative keeps abruptly changing.
The most accessible images by Mhairi-Clare Fitzpatrick are of two young women in a freezing-works. An update of Darcy Lange perhaps, and in this show, they become positioned images of ‘authenticity’. Her other images seem overtly preoccupied with fakery, with odd smocks and wigs. They are bizarrely futuristic, as if off the set of A Clockwork Orange, but in ultra-violet light.
Robyn Hoonhout’s duratrans have pairs of objects (images of elderly women included) is if in a promotional campaign that might go in bus shelters. She seems to be contrasting human individuality with Fordist factory production - and deliberately mixing consumer with the consumed.
The essay by Lucille Holmes that goes with this show is in this context inappropriate, for like every other student theorist who has been writing over the last twenty-five years, she is obsessed with Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida and his use of the term punctum. She is also keen to show her erudition with the writings of Lacan and exactly how Barthes derived punctum from Lacan’s eleventh seminar. This is precious little use for anybody trying to grapple with Hoonhout and Fitzpatrick’s imagery – and will probably send them fleeing screaming from the George Fraser, never to return.