Maureen Paley is pleased to present Hannah Starkey’s sixth solo exhibition at the gallery.

Below the artist has selected a series of excerpts from texts which have informed and influenced her work:

The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson was published in 1833. Secluded in a tower, the heroine is described as having spent her days weaving what she saw of the world as it passed on the riverbank below her window, cursed to see it only as reflected in a mirror. One day Sir Lancelot passed by – his armour ‘flamed’ and ‘sparkled’ and ‘glitter’d’ and ‘burn’d like one burning flame together’ and ‘His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d’ – and unable to resist such a sight she turned and looked directly down at him. At that moment the curse was played out, ‘The mirror crack’d from side to side’, and the Lady of Shalott soon after died.

Written at the end of the Romantic period, the poem reveals an ambivalent attitude towards the everyday material world. Though the Lady of Shalott was punished with death for not being able to resist the pull of the carnal over the world of the imagination, as Tennyson suggests, the price may not have been too high compared with a life only experienced indirectly. It was into this world that photography was born…

… In the area of self-portraiture, the camera freed the artist from the necessity of looking in the mirror. And yet paradoxically photography is full of examples of photographers using mirrors in order to make self-portraits. This often adds a self-reflective quality to the image. The creator of the image becomes part of the image, often with camera, as seen in the self-portraits made by Ilse Bing and Lee Friedlander. There is a voyeuristic thrill in seeing the creator of the image, and of being privileged to view what is usually outside the frame, through seeing what is behind instead of just in front of the camera.

Anne O’Hehir, Surface beauty: Things that sparkle and glitter, 2004

The frame directs the gaze, and everything that exists within it becomes the fleeting content of the work. In an architectural sense, the window is a membrane that divides the interior from the exterior. This separation of inside and outside is crucial to the phenomenon of reflection.

Melanie Franke, translation: Andrea Scrima, Richter’s Mirror Metaphors in an Art Historical Context, 2002

The window metaphor is a powerful one. It suggests something not entirely visible and a bit beyond our grasp.

Cynthia Tinapple, 2010

… is at once transparent, reflective, insubstantial, and solid. Glass may allude as well to the metaphor of art as a window on reality.

Lucy Flint on Robert Delaunay, Guggenheim Collection Online

Recent solo exhibitions include Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York in 2009 and Church of Light, a commission by the German Protestant Church, Frankfurt earlier this year, as well as previous solo exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin and Castello di Rivoli, Turin both in 2000 and Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK in 1999. Her work was included in Youth of Today at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in 2006. A monograph on the artist’s work, Photographs 1997-2007, was published by Steidl in 2008 and she has been included in Vitamin Ph published by Phaidon in 2007 and in Art Photography Now published by Thames & Hudson in 2005. Her work is included in public collections at Tate and Victoria & Albert Museum in London as well as the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and Castello di Rivoli in Turin. Starkey was born in Belfast in 1971. She lives and works in London.