Press release / Catalogue text
" Only when (the biographer) reads a subjects' letters does (he) feel he has come fully into (a) presence, and only when he quotes from (these) letters does he share with his readers his sense of a life retrieved... He allows the reader to be a voyeur with him... to rifle desks to take what doesn't belong to him... with a certain discomfort and unease: one would not like this to happen to oneself... we want to be remembered on our own terms..."
Janet Malcolm The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes
Disassembling is a poignant installation that presents various photographs-in-series.
At the same time, a small challenge to photography arises. In her attempt to archive the "evidence of the material accumulation of a life" - to which nothing could be added - each frame is imbued with an intense focus on detail.
Knowing that everything would be disassembled in the days and weeks that followed, the haphazard and hurried nature of Mannall's archiving process took on a life of its own while she searched for something that could neither be explained nor revealed... only obfuscated by surface, detail and blur.
The result - an "intimate gesture towards a life lived" - also exposes something else... the fragmentary, incomplete and uncertain nature of the imagery suggests a somewhat uncomfortable sense of transgression.
Though it is this uncomfortable transgression that kept the work in Mannall's personal archives for ten years, she has met a challenge from colleagues regarding notions of art practice and self-censoring and - hesitantly - brings the photographs to the public while exploring the parameters between the private and public domains to see how one can use the private to speak of a broader experience.
Kirsten Rann 2005