Sunday, February 1, 2009

Moira Lovell

2006    MA Photography, London College of Communication

1999    BA (Hons) Photography, Kent Institute of Art and Design

'Moira Lovell's series The After School Club revels in just such mixed messages and the testing of boundaries. Posing before the gates of their former schools, the young women in these photographs are dressed in school uniforms as adult party outfits for the 'school disco'. This nightclub phenomenon seems at once liberating, through the adoption of an alternative persona, in the carnival tradition, and yet is highly socially controlled. Dislocated from the night-time context of fancy dress and fetish, the women appear unsure of the role they must now play: by turns uncomfortable and forlorn, defensive and coy. As viewers we too feel the discomfort. In the cold light of day, in public, the infantilised sexuality is mildly disturbing. I am reminded of Diane Arbus's notion of the 'gap between intention and effect' that formed the core of her influential and sophisticated understanding of photography in the late 1960s. She noted how photographs ruthlessly pinpointed the threshold between how we think we appear and how we are actually perceived. The two states are often at odds, gaining potency from their conflict and uncertainty.'

Review of The After School Club, 2006-07

Martin Barnes, senior curator of photographs, Victoria and Albert museum, London / Portfolio Magazine issue 46 (November 2007)

MA Photography 2006, London College of Communication

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