Catrine Val: The Changing Room: Portraits of Contemporary Women in Britain
Departure Lounge at The Storefront, Bute Street, Luton, LU1 2EY
17 January – 9 March 2019
German artist Catrine Val, who previously exhibited at Street Level with her solo exhibition Political Letters during Glasgow International 2016, has a new exhibition opening in Luton.
Leading up to and celebrating International Women’s Day 2019, Departure Lounge and Luton Culture have invited artist Catrine Val to create insightful new photographic and video portraits of women living in the Luton area. Inspired by Luton’s unique diversity, and by the fluid relationships between the town’s many communities and cultures, Val creates an acutely observed, highly personalised collective portrait of what it is to be a woman in 21st-century Britain.
Val’s exquisite portraits focus on the important part that clothing plays in personal and cultural identity. Based on the question “Who are you, and who do you want to be?”, she elevates the daily fashion choices made by Luton’s women to the level seen in the pages of glossy fashion magazines and encourages them to re-imagine themselves and their place in the world.
Based in Kassel, Germany, Catrine Val is internationally recognised for her many series of contemporary photographic portraits and self-portraits, which engage with female identity. Bringing the acute vision of the “outsider” to Luton, Val hopes to elucidate the double lives and multiple, overlapping and simultaneous identities that define women’s lives in contemporary, urban and industrial Britain.
For the duration of the exhibition, Departure Lounge’s Storefront gallery will be converted into a fashion photography studio and changing room. Women who live or work in the Luton area are invited to come forward and be photographed in the studio wearing the clothes they feel best communicate their identity.
The exhibition will evolve as more sitters are photographed, culminating in a closing viewing of the portraits at The Storefront on International Women’s Day, Friday 8 March.
Organised by Luton Culture and Departure Lounge, The Changing Room is the latest project presented as part of, As You Change, So Do I, a three-year programme of public art events funded by Arts Council England’s Luton Investment Programme. As You Change, So Do I provides artists with a platform to make new public works in response to Luton’s unique industrial and cultural history.
Image: © Catrine Val