Richard Ansett

Physical Representations of Present and Absent Identity

This project is an extension of previous themes of emotional fracture and healing. It showed with Lion Hunting in Essex as the exhibition ‘PORTRAITS’ at Tenderpixel.

“While the title of the exhibition ‘Portraits’ suggests a straightforward presentation of a particular art-historical format, the conventions of portraiture are deliberately misrepresented. All of the images in both series ‘Untitled’ and ‘Lion Hunting in Essex’ merely provides a supporting role to the power of their ‘non-subjects. ‘Untitled’, takes its formal inspiration from Irving Penn’s Three Women of Rissani, Morocco (1971), the mysterious subjects are unidentifiable and without obvious scale.  Uncertainty is the default position and the convention of reading images breaks down.” – Joseph Liam Murtaugh, Director, Tenderpixel.

“When we experience strong emotional arousal – it imprints itself upon our brain as a pattern. All the sensory details of where we were, what we could hear, smell, taste at the time are captured in that pattern, like a fine mosaic. The reason our memories are always in reach – and often in glorious technicolour surround sound – is that the patterns embed themselves, constructing over time a tangible sense of the self and one’s past. Like 3d photocopiers – our sense of self can be constructed from past patterns.

The full self is not easily presented. Instead, we put on costumes to make certain aspects visible to others. Our daily outfits denote our functionality or our take on society. Accessories frame certain parts of our bodies otherwise rarely noticed. But it’s just as common to be rendered invisible by clothes that deflect attention rather than draw it – dull, shapeless, borrowed clothes. Ansett’s photographs bring to mind the invisible, made visible only by the adoption of a cloak – like vulnerable people on the edge of society, given low paid jobs in a factory to stop them disappearing altogether.” – Indra Adnan