Photo: Claire Manning in London & the South East, London

Claire Manning

Artist, Maker, Arts administrator, Project manager, Writer

Embedded at the centre of my practice is a fascination with the gaze. I’m interested in the difference between what I look at and what I actually see, something with multiple, shifting possibilities that subtly re-align to give endless permutations, calling into question the self-understanding of the one who observes. I appropriate photographs taken by others, forging a link between what’s depicted and the new use I put them to. The primary image -- the trigger -- is a twentieth-century publicity postcard of an actress. It’s something that’s become detached from its original purpose and owner, found for sale on EBay. I pair it with a ‘twin’ sourced from a contemporary fashion magazine, forcing them together in collaged collaboration. The process of collage turns each original image into fragments. Nothing whole survives, only debris; disintegrated scraps at once both waste and raw material for fresh construction of a new hybrid ‘other’ female face.(1) Rules rooted in my research into the gaze determine this initial starting point, but these can only take me so far. At a certain point each piece evades constraint, propelled by my desire to trap the visceral real of process and materials that I might locate the body in time, space, and place to know it (and, by extension, myself) better. What results remains true to the source image yet has an inner truth of its own. I am aware that superficially the images I choose offer the passive perfection of theatrical stills, but they resist my patriarchally-based gaze to produce something that’s never intact, blocking possession of womanly perfection, denying pleasure, and re-siting the experience of viewing in castration and anxiety. (2) References (1) Roland Barthes, The Preparation of the Novel, trans. Kate Briggs, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011), p191. (2) Mignon Nixon, ‘You Thrive on Mistaken Identity’, October, 60 (1992), pp. 59-81. read full statement

Location London & the South East, London
Activities Practice-based research, Residencies, Community arts, Critical writing, Project management
Artforms / type of project Digital, Film & Video, Installation, Mixed Media, Sculpture
Tags collage, photomontage, figurative, stereotypes, the gaze, perspectives, photographs, collaging, co-operative, patriarchal

News & Events

  • 'On Tap' - A Site Responsive Exhibition by Making Art Work

    06/06/2014 – 09/06/2014
    VENUE: Brewery Tap, 53 Tontine Street, Folkstone, Kent, CT20 1JR. OPEN: Fri 6th June until Mon 9th June, 11am - 4pm daily. PRIVATE VIEW: Fri 6th June, 5.30pm – 8pm

    Inspired by the gallery’s former life as a pub artists create new works reflecting on its past life, combining memories, imagined traces & historical anecdotes with musings on shifting cultural trends

    Find out more

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