Located in London's historic East End Victims showcases 10 new works by artists Kim O'Neil and Nicola Morrison looking at the individual victims murdered by the serial killer who terrorised the prostitutes of Whitechapel in the year of 1888.
Taking place on Shoreditch High Street in close proximity to the site of one murder, the exhibition explores the ephemera surrounding London's infamous 'Jack the Ripper' murder victims; the first murders to widely captivate the general populace through the printed media. The women who were killed attained a level of fame in death that it is likely would never have been afforded to them if they had not crossed the path of the killer. Drawing on the language of documentary, museum exhibits and 'real crime' books and websites, the exhibition explores the significance of small scraps of recorded information and the transformative power of this ephemeral material.
Fragments of the victim's death certificates track the progress of the serial killer not only in his
immediate actions of killing but in the wider phenomenon of becoming a mythical monster. These banal pieces of officious paper follow the narrative of tragic events that have become distanced by time and the parodying and misrepresentation by popular culture and myth. The certificates bear over us condemning the women to their place as footnotes in popular history.
Popular with the Victorians post-death photographic portraits were used to remember loved ones, as photography was too expensive to lavish on the living. In this case the utilitarian police post-mortem photos (likely to be the only photographs ever taken of most of the women) replace the lovingly arranged family tableaus. Carefully rendered 'portraits' painted from
these photos take them from documentation into a more ethereal realm, where they hover in a dream-like state, caught, cursed to be 'victims' forever.
Kim O'Neil graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2004 and has since exhibited around London and in Surrey. Her work is concerned with the recorded transactions of a human life. She transforms the paper minutiae we all leave behind throughout or lives, and
deaths, into gigantic monuments of past events. Receipts of a days shopping are blown up to become beautiful and abstract memories, marriage certificates are focused on solemn words, perhaps now forgotten.
Nicola Morrison also graduated from Central Saint Martins in the same year and has shown work in a number of exhibitions in London. Her work is primarily figurative and is focused on the plethora of photographic images woven through all aspects of our lives. She works in various mediums on the replication of cheap media forms, be it the faithful replication
of an entire magazine or a highly detailed painting of a pock marked face, she is interested in the transformative power of the media and status of images.