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Kirsten Cooke

May 4, 2010


Photographs by Kirsten Cooke

When Kirsten Cooke’s parents died, her mother first and then her father not long afterwards; she was faced with the task of clearing the residues of forty-nine years of family life. She set about recording significant and insignificant objects which held emotional memories of her past.

An empty house holds the warmth of those who once lived there, gradually cooling as their presence becomes more distant with time. Treasured objects they caressed, cups they drank from, light switches that they touched a million times. The sound of children, words spoken in different languages, silence. Although this was once Cooke’s home, when she left it many years ago it reverted to being the home of her parents, a place where she became a visitor. Re-possessing it, she found the main body of the house left untouched and clearing away the intimate objects of her parents’ life she becomes a voyeur. The scant evidence of her childhood presence was accentuated by an abandoned wooden rocking horse in an empty attic.

Cooke’s photographs capture the dangerous silence, which echoes deafeningly through empty spaces, engendering unbidden memories. The empty room invaded by a shaft of sunlight which highlights the darkly-patterned sixties wallpaper and below the stains on a carpet now revealed by the absence of furniture. Plastic cupfuls of dead flies rock gently on their hooks, out of sight, whilst fine bone china and matching chintz are on show in the bedroom. Each room evokes its own memories.

This poignant exhibition and accompanying book flag up the universal theme of what is hidden behind the façade of any life.

Rook Lane Chapel, Frome, Somerset. BA11 1DN.

Tel.01373 468040

Open daily 10am – 4pm

One Comment leave one →
  1. Peewee Welvaert permalink
    November 6, 2010 3:03 am

    Really touched a nerve deep down with the rocking chair photo and narrative.
    Poignant life experience

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