Maureen Paley is pleased to present a second solo show of new work by Hannah Starkey.
Even if Starkey’s photographs are not self-portraits, they are autobiographical in that they are tied to her experience as a woman who lives and works in a city like London having moved there from Belfast. To shoot her images, the artist uses professional actresses whom she chooses, much as a film producer might do, based on the ‘role’ required for each photograph. “Seen from a female perspective - the artist says - _the constructed scenarios in my images explore women’s lives through their everyday interactions. Each photograph portrays actresses recreating an ostensibly insignificant, or banal, moment that is often something unnoticed as we go about our daily routine._”
Thus the artist conceives each image as a mise-en-scène, a narrative fiction where the subject is the immediately visible reality that makes up everyday life. Not only the subject of investigation, but also the photographic technique employed deals with the world of women. In fact, the choice to recreate an image similar to reality, rather than seeking it “live,” has its origins in a way of “seeing” that can be considered culturally “female”. Indeed the field of feminist studies has been a major source of criticism of the idea that photography can be an objective tool, capable of capturing reality. In this sense Starkey’s work, and her insistence on the idea of staging defined aspects of the life in a large city, can be seen in critical relationship to the modern era’s tradition of ‘street photographers’, who travelled the already chaotic metropolises, electing unaware passers-by as their protagonists.
Marcella Beccaria (Translated from Italian by Meg Shore)Extract from Hannah Starkey A Project for the Castle, published for the solo exhibition Hannah Starkey, Castello di Rivoli.
In 1999 Starkey received the 3rd International Tokyo Photo Bienalle Award for Excellence. Recent solo exhibitions include Progetto, Castello di Rivoli, Torino, the Nederlands Foto Instituut, Rotterdam and the Cornerhouse, Manchester. An additional forthcoming solo presentation of work can be seen at The Museum of Modern Art in Dublin from 17 May until 27 August. A catalogue will be published with this exhibition.