With her minimalistic photographs illuminating the human body, which takes centre stage, Rosser collects our gaze towards solid and grounded anthropomorphic human figures. All her subjects are contortioned or turned, facing away from the camera and thus becoming ‘form’ without identity, in a delicate, raw and sculptural way.
These inhabited sculptures stand strong with a soft white and grey background of empty space. When in front of Rosser’s work, it becomes a dialogue between the ‘I’, the ‘object’ and the gaze: intimate and personal. We are faced with bodies, deprived of facial recognition or any information that could lead us to pin point who they are. No hair colour, no face, no neck or arms or breasts, not even a mundane ‘human’ movement like the stretching of an arm to suggest a male or female existence. Ultimately, these subjects are stripped from this because it just doesn’t matter, essentially, I do not want to know or care who they are: all I see is form.
Although the hidden identity denies us with any personal symbol or ‘bait’ to entice us into developing a rapport with the work, there is a strange familiarity about these images. This is due to the simple fact that we are looking at a nude human body, which all of mankind possesses: what more relatable than that? All bodies are approximately the same and serve identical functions. It is therefore not a surprise that when looking at Rosser’s work, there is a conflict between a subject devoid of individuality yet a form that we do not only perceive but feel.
These shapes and figures, withholding such a universal reassurance to the viewer, are all slightly different, and in varied positions. Shadows here, a dent there, a stretched leg or a spinal chord revealing itself through veiled skin: nothing is altered or fabricated: it all seems organic. The subject’s obvious staged poses become absolutely ‘normal’, that is when the subject becomes inhuman whilst bearing an absolute essence of humanity. It instantly makes me think of Barbara Hepworth when pursuing her obsession with form and how beautifully she describes the interaction between the body seeing and feeling.
The wonderful structure of the human frame is an architecture of highest proportion, and all sensitivity to landscape is in one’s ability to feel within one’s body: to feel with a primitive humility a response to life and location, a response to form, texture and rhythm…
(Barbara Hepworth: Drawings from a Sculptor’s Landscape, London 1966)
There is a symbiotic and visceral relationship between Chloe Rosser’s images and our response to them. The work resonates an alienated intimacy and becomes similar to familiar landscapes where our gaze switches between anatomy and immortal, between the bodily object and ourselves.