Publicity image, printed as 6x4 postcard   This series of photographs came about after a short period of housekeeping (cleaning guest rooms) in a hotel in Cardiff. At about this time I was invited to make new work for a solo show at g39 gallery in Cardiff, so it was a timely coincidence, as one way or another this experience was bound to inspire the work for the show.  The role of housekeeper, as I experienced it, was to erase traces of previous guests by removing, replenishing, replacing, repositioning and cleaning, until uniformity, comfort and style were restored for the next occupancy. In a certain standard of hotel this is adhered to in the strictest terms, and overseen by people with lists, to ensure that the surface of things will appear as it is supposed to. 

Publicity image, printed as 6x4 postcard

 

This series of photographs came about after a short period of housekeeping (cleaning guest rooms) in a hotel in Cardiff. At about this time I was invited to make new work for a solo show at g39 gallery in Cardiff, so it was a timely coincidence, as one way or another this experience was bound to inspire the work for the show. 

The role of housekeeper, as I experienced it, was to erase traces of previous guests by removing, replenishing, replacing, repositioning and cleaning, until uniformity, comfort and style were restored for the next occupancy. In a certain standard of hotel this is adhered to in the strictest terms, and overseen by people with lists, to ensure that the surface of things will appear as it is supposed to. 

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

Untitled from the series 310 giclee print  40x50 inches Whilst the hotel is part of a respectable and comfortable chain, this close scrutiny of the surface of things, revealed small imperfections, such as scratches and stains on furniture and hairs snagged in the upholstery of chairs, then its faux mahogany surfaces, shinny brass lamps, and soft furnishings, were in stark contrast to the areas of the hotel that only the staff see, which was bare and dismal. Through understanding this surface of things to be a veneer, a set almost and hotels by their nature are strangely cinematic spaces, I decided to create another artifice to lay on top of the one already there, and transform the corners of one room into something more recognisably cinematic, and my small intervention was to be solely to camera and as colourful as I could make it. I intended these small scenes to be recognised as backdrops to films we think we may have seen.  Several months later, with the promise of a solo show at g39 Gallery, a project grant from Arts Council of Wales, a collection of handmade paper props, backdrops, permission from the hotel management, and a complimentary room a weekend, I booked into room 310 and used the existing room layout to frame the series of photographs. 

Untitled from the series 310 giclee print  40x50 inches

Whilst the hotel is part of a respectable and comfortable chain, this close scrutiny of the surface of things, revealed small imperfections, such as scratches and stains on furniture and hairs snagged in the upholstery of chairs, then its faux mahogany surfaces, shinny brass lamps, and soft furnishings, were in stark contrast to the areas of the hotel that only the staff see, which was bare and dismal. Through understanding this surface of things to be a veneer, a set almost and hotels by their nature are strangely cinematic spaces, I decided to create another artifice to lay on top of the one already there, and transform the corners of one room into something more recognisably cinematic, and my small intervention was to be solely to camera and as colourful as I could make it. I intended these small scenes to be recognised as backdrops to films we think we may have seen. 

Several months later, with the promise of a solo show at g39 Gallery, a project grant from Arts Council of Wales, a collection of handmade paper props, backdrops, permission from the hotel management, and a complimentary room a weekend, I booked into room 310 and used the existing room layout to frame the series of photographs. 

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches In making the props for the photographs, I was aware that I had replaced the repetitive action of cleaning  with that of making paper flowers, and whilst the props functioned predominantly as a means to construct artifice and effect, I wanted this act of ‘making’ to be visible in the photographs if scrutinised closely, to ensure this I used a 5x4 film camera to document these small sets, which would allow for the production large scale prints. Working with coloured paper to make flowers, I was interested to see how flat colour could be transformed through cutting, bending and shaping and then lighting, into something akin to the origional, and then subsequently return to flat and saturated colour in the surface of photograph.  I really like the notion of leaving the greyness as Salman Rushdie writes in his musing on the Wizard of OZ  'In it’s most potent emotional moment, this is unarguably a film about the joys of going away, of leaving the greyness and entering the colour, of making a new life in the ‘place where there isn't any trouble’. Salman Rushdie, BFI Film Classic 1992 ‘The Wizard of OZ’, 

'untitled from the series 310' -  giclee print  40x50 inches

In making the props for the photographs, I was aware that I had replaced the repetitive action of cleaning  with that of making paper flowers, and whilst the props functioned predominantly as a means to construct artifice and effect, I wanted this act of ‘making’ to be visible in the photographs if scrutinised closely, to ensure this I used a 5x4 film camera to document these small sets, which would allow for the production large scale prints. Working with coloured paper to make flowers, I was interested to see how flat colour could be transformed through cutting, bending and shaping and then lighting, into something akin to the origional, and then subsequently return to flat and saturated colour in the surface of photograph. 

I really like the notion of leaving the greyness as Salman Rushdie writes in his musing on the Wizard of OZ 

'In it’s most potent emotional moment, this is unarguably a film about the joys of going away, of leaving the greyness and entering the colour, of making a new life in the ‘place where there isn't any trouble’. Salman Rushdie, BFI Film Classic 1992 ‘The Wizard of OZ’, 


This series of prints has been exhibited extensively, most recently in the exhibition 'Still' with Transition Gallery in London 2012 and featured in the 'Film' issue of 'Garageland Magazine' 2012

The series was exhibited alongside the stereoscopes and audio from 'A Fall into Grace' as part of the symposium: Performance, Pleasure, Photography staged at University of Newport Wales 2012 
'The exhibition Performance, Pleasure, Photography explored the work of two artists; Dawn Woolley and Jackie Chettur whose works challenge the senses, utilising colour, space, and performance to entice the viewer into a more active role. The fixed-point perspective of the camera is up-ended through staged tableaux and stereoscopic stories which play with visual and psychological games' 

Read Essay by: Anders Pleass written for the publication 'Show one of each'