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Splitting and Red House: Two homes set apart

Berstrand, T; (2006) Splitting and Red House: Two homes set apart. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Two photographs of the entrance hall in William Morris' Red House, built in Bexleyheath south of London in 1859, make me think of Gordon Matta-Clark's building cuts. The Red House images appear next to each other in a text, I am reading, one taken in 1944 the other in 2004, they both show the same space, the entrance hall with the staircase, yet, they are not identical. Slight differences occur in the furnishings and on the walls, one photograph is almost a frontal view, the other is slightly angled. They both show a space devoid of inhabitants, quiet and orderly. Two spaces then, and yet, actually the same. Just not framed as one, here, on paper, but always contained within the same walls, there, in Bexleyheath. Seeing the images, I am in two places, which is actually one, simultaneously. I am split between the images, they split the Red House, and so invoke a feeling of unease. They still do. The staging of the home, which occurs in both photographs, is silent it presents a perfect still life, an untouchable setting, a home ideal. It is a staging of the home as an image, even if it was not staged for the image. Yet, the objects on display, furniture and architectural features, somehow wrestle with the format, as if unsettled despite the determined framing. The camera's attempt to force its perspectival view somehow fails and it unwillingly captures an underlying tension in the entrance hall, if not a home alive. Matta-Clark's building cuts live on in photographic documentation, film works, and collages as the buildings have all gone. His preference for assembling several images to 'build' one representational work, as if one framing could not express the event, is apparent. The cuts revealed movement and the representations had to incorporate that dynamism, to take the viewer on a journey rather than provide one fixed point of view.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Splitting and Red House: Two homes set apart
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification:
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1570353
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