Charlotte Colbert. Toute Seule

19 Jan — 26 Feb 2017 at Gazelli Art House in London, United Kingdom

19 JANUARY 2017
Charlotte Colbert, Toute Seule, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Gazelli Art Hause
Charlotte Colbert, Toute Seule, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Gazelli Art Hause

Charlotte Colbert fuses new concept in moving image portraiture and sculpture, featuring Korean grandmother and model Lily Cole breastfeeding her child Artist and lmmaker Charlotte Colbert will unveil a series of powerful anthropomorphic screen sculptures, constructed from rusty steel structures, displaying screens of moving images. Colbert has lmed two women at very different stages of their lives, a Korean grandmother who recently reunited brie y with her long-lost husband after war tore them apart 65 years ago and Lily Cole, breastfeeding her first child.

In 2016, Colbert undertook a long journey to meet Lee Soon-Kye in her home in Cheongiu, South Korea. Soon Kye is an 85 year-old grandmother who was separated from her husband at the outbreak of the Korean war in 1950.

Her husband of seven months, In-Sedisappeared into the conflict, ending up in the north, separated from his pregnant wife and unborn child by the Korean peninsula. In 2015, they were reunited after being granted permission to be together for only 12 hours, in supervised sessions. In those 12 hours over the course of five days, Soon Kye, who never remarried, introduced Oh In-Se to their 65 year-old son for the first time.

Moved by her story, Colbert travelled to Korea to lm her for what would become a moving image portrait sculpture. Consisting of detailed abstracts of Soon- Kyu’s face, Colbert captured the details of the waiting, recreating her presence in time. Colbert displays the moving images in an anthropomorphic sculptural arrangement of screens set in rusty metal cases, giving the overall feel of a portrait lost in time, re-discovered in the future, worn by the years gone by. “I was interested in re-creating presence”, she says by way of explanation. “Sharing the eerie intimacy of being with someone, of partaking in that faith that is waiting”.

This piece is an opening narrative of Charlotte Colbert’s new series of screen sculptures.

The artwork that follows is Colbert’s riff on the traditional mother and child portrait, which is to be displayed at Gazelli Art House as part of Toute Seule group show alongside Rachel Whiteread, Nancy Spero, Elizabeth Murray and Rebecca Allen.

Colbert decided to bring her two crafts together to create these large-scale pieces. A new approach to portraiture they reveal details of their subjects in time, capturing their essence in a very intimate way. Inspired by Hollie McNish’s incensed poem on breastfeeding in public, Colbert, a mother of a 15 month-old daughter herself, wanted to explore the stigma and censorship around this debate. For her second sculpture, Colbert lmed her friend, model and actress Lily Cole. Abstracting her subjects she renders them both universal and very specific. Sharing their stories seamlessly, through a barely perceptible nod of the head, blinking of an eye or shrinking of a pupil.