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

Claire Manning

Artist, Maker, Arts administrator, Project manager, Writer

I’m fascinated by the gaze.

I’m interested in the difference between what I look at and what I actually see. The more carefully I look the more apparent the divide, revealing its unstable and fleeting nature. It appears to offer something in the first instance only to shift into something else in another, a structural instability that calls into question the self-understanding of the one who observes.

Driven by the desire to collect – possess -- I appropriate photographs taken by others connecting what’s depicted with the new use I put them to. The process of collage turns everything into fragments; nothing whole survives, only debris, disintegrated scraps at once both waste and raw material with the potential for fresh construction. (1)

The portraits of women I start with never remain intact, divided then paired with a ‘twin’ from another source, producing new hybrid ‘Other’ female faces. In many ways, this is part of a game to investigate the potential of raw materials, to force the disruption of perspectives, and to explore what constitutes collage. However, it’s also rooted in concerns with locating the body in time, place, and psychological space that I might know it (and by extension, myself) better.

I am aware that the images I choose offer the passive, opulent perfection of theatrical stills, a distasteful seduction I wish I could resist. However, the disruptions I subject them to offer resistance to my possessive, assertive gaze, resulting in something that’s never intact, blocking possession of passive perfection, denying pleasure, and re-siting the experience of viewing in anxiety and loss of power.

(1)  Roland Barthes, The Preparation of the Novel, (2011), p191.


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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

  • Response

    08/11/2014 – 29/11/2014
    Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery, St Faith’s Street, Maidstone, Kent. ME14 1LH

    My new Vanitas piece will be shown as part of Making Art Work’s 'Response' exhibition in Maidstone Museum, November 2014 alongside new, original artworks by over 25 artists.

    Find out more

  • '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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