Visitorians by Charlotte Cory to be seen at the Sinclairhaus Museum in Bad Homburg, October 2016 - February 2017 and then at the Museum Schloss Moyland Foundation, Spring 2018
Animals in human clothes? Ludicrous, fun, absurd? Ah, but these are neither “animal”, nor “human” – I respectfully call them “Visitorians” since they are, most assuredly
a) 19th Century and Victorian
b) based on carte-de-visites, early photographic images that became a mid-19th Century Facebook, a craze they called “cartomania” for collecting up pictures of oneself and friends in various fashions and poses
& c) visitors from another world: a better, more interesting place (that I wouldn’t mind visiting myself, but that is another matter).
Visitorians dressed carefully for their trip to the photographic studio. This was, after all, their moment in the sun. And how they wanted posterity to remember them. They pose proudly, defiant of a posterity that will in time forget them. Every clue to the lives they lead of vital importance now when all we have of those lives is this miniature, fading, sepia picture. We are forced to scan every detail of these images and ask: why this cross-hatched dress, that odd brooch, this wonky hat? Have you seen the bows on those completely impractical shoes? And what of that self-important tie-pin! Observe, also, the body language and how each individual relates to the studio props – the ubiquitous chairs, the columns, the curtains, the carpets…
By reworking the original images, every clue acquires pre-eminent importance so that (to likewise) rework a Biblical phrase: By their clothes shall ye know them… The longer you look (at this dress, that brooch etc etc) the more you detect and the more chance you have of entering the hidden story.
Go now to a mirror and take an equally long hard look at yourself. Why this dress, that brooch…. What animal are YOU?