Exhibition for the Arnolfini Bristol: A Picture of Health? Women Photographers from the Hyman Collection
The Restless Image: a discrepancy between the seen position & the felt position
Selenium toned silver bromide print
89 x 112 cms (34.98 x 44.02 ins)
Richard Saltoun Gallery, London
Accompanied by a signed and numbered label.
From the edition of 10 + 2 AP
In the mid-1970s, Finn-Kelcey started staging performances. This photograph, her most famous work, was inspired by a snapshot of the artist's mother. Finn-Kelcey revisited a beach near Dungeness, Kent, where her family had gone when she was a child, and took a series of photographs of herself performing handstands.
The image appears to capture an exuberant, impulsive gesture but the work's subtitle suggests a divergence between the experience of the subject and what is visible to the spectator. The artist continued to explore the inconsistency between internal experience and external observation in the 1970s.This black and white photograph shows a young woman, the artist herself, standing on her hands on a beach. The beach is almost empty and the tide is a long way out. A small, darkly dressed man walks along the distant shoreline. It is unclear whether this figure is facing the water or is looking back towards the artist and the viewer. On the far left of the photograph, a floating harbour is visible. It is a clear day; wispy clouds in the sky contrast with the patterns the receding tide has made on the vast expanse of sand. In the foreground, the woman, dressed in a long pleated skirt, is captured doing a handstand. Caught by the wind her skirt billows in an arc to the left, obscuring her head and torso but revealing her legs pointing skywards and her hands rooted in the sand. Her satin skirt and pale tights are incongruous on the beach front. The sleeves of her dark top match her be-ribboned espadrilles.
The work's title is taken from The Restless Image: Sociology of Fashion, 1974, a study of dress by Rene Konig (1906-92). The work exists in an edition of ten small scale prints, made in 2002, and a larger size in an edition of 5 of which the present photograph is an example.
Guy Brett and Rose Finn-Kelcey, Rose Finn-Kelcey, exhibition catalogue, Chisenhale Gallery, London and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 1994, reproduced on cover.
Clive Philpott, Andrea Tarsia, Michael Archer and Rosetta Brooks, Live in Your Head: Concept and Experiment in Britain 1965-75, exhibition catalogue, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2000, reproduced p.81.