The principal focus of Hannah Farrell’s work is the human body, presented in subtly mediated ways. The earliest photos in the exhibition, collectively entitled Close your Eyes and Think of England produced in 2014, re-contextualize images of women found in erotic magazines. Cut out from the magazine pages, the photos are treated as objects in their own right and placed in assemblies of other objects ranging from the constructivist to the picturesque, then to be re-photographed. The visual interest created by the new context discourages a merely sensual engagement with the depicted women who, incidentally, are shown with their eyes closed. The brash eroticism of the magazine images gives way to multi-layered levels of engagement.
The presentation of photographs as material objects is continued in a series of works depicting young men. In this instance the artist is the originator of the photographs which explore the intricacies of a female’s glance onto her male models. The printed images are then presented by the artist’s hands or interpreted by objects placed around them. In several instances the photographic paper forcefully curls away from the wall, creating a three-dimensional effect that comes very close to deceiving the eye, and rolled-up photographic prints have an entirely sculptural presence. This strong emphasis on the photographs’ materiality is in dialogue with the representational function of the prints. Whilst toying with received notions of masculinity – several of the sitters are young sportsmen in their appropriate attire, with objects positioned in the vicinity alluding to particular sports or to victory, the artist’s glance imbues the young men with an affecting pensiveness, even fragility. Hannah Farrell’s photographs display an extraordinary balance between self-reflexive image making and psychological nuancing.
Curated by Dr Thomas Frangenberg
Hannah Farrell (b.1990, Morecambe) lives and works in Manchester, UK. Since completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2014 she has exhibited throughout the UK and in continental Europe, including commissions and residencies from Castlefield Gallery and Singular Gallery, Croatia. She has carried out talks and workshops at Manchester School of Art and the V&A and has been featured in Wallpaper*, The British Journal of Photography and the Catlin Art Guide 2015. Farrell completed the PAPER Gallery Mentorship scheme and the Zabludowicz Collection’s Master Class 2017. She received the De’Longhi Art Projects Artist Award at London Art Fair 2017 and has recently been predicted as one of 10 ‘Young British artists to watch’ by the London Evening Standard.