Ten Magazine, Sherwin Skye —  2011

A sense of abandonment permeates the interiors Hardy photographs. Whoever caused the disarray she captures — be that party streamers and empty paper cups or piles of junk — they have now fled. It's up to us to imagine what has taken place, and the harder we look the weirder it all becomes. Why are workmen's tools scattered all over the nursery floor? Is this dishevelled wooden shack a hideout? What place do the microphones and cameras have in a post-party scene dominated by powder room pinks and blues? Rather than documentary, these are in fact elaborate environments that Hardy creates in her studio in Hackney, using junk finds from the local area.

THE ENVIRONMENTS YOU CREATE DON’T QUITE ADD UP IN THE WAY WE MIGHT EXPECT

” I want these images to have a relationship to things that exist in the real world, but at the same time not to have an immediate ‘answer’ or resolution. I see the work as a form of fiction that parallels the real world but does not attempt to explain it.”

THERE’S OFTEN A SENSE OF LOW-LYING DOOM BEYOND THE LUSCIOUS COLOURS. WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS HERE?

“I try to achieve a sense of unease in the images to reflect a real world of discomfort about unfamiliar or hidden spaces and systems. I’m interested in places that are improvised or have several overlapping activities existing within them; a tension between the desire for control and an inevitable chaos or entropy.”

DO YOU HAVE A FICTIONAL CHARACTER OR SITUATION IN MIND OR ARE YOU THINKING MORE ABOUT HOW YOU MIGHT DIRECT THE VIEWER

“The photograph is a way of setting up an encounter between you and the space. The images are large scale so that you feel you can enter the place depicted. I consider both illusory space of the image and ways to go against that, to do thing that hopefully make you consider your position in relation to what you are looking at, so it’s not entirely passive.”

WHERE DOES YOUR INTEREST IN THESE INTERIOR WORLDS STEM FROM?

“From what surrounds me every day. From literature and thinking about what opens up in your mind when you read a novel, a kind of third space between yourself and the real world. I’m interested in writers like JG Ballard, Haruki Murakami and Bret Easton Ellis, especially where they create an uncertainty as to what elements belong in the mind and what are physical.”

WHAT DO YOU SHOW PHOTOGRAPHS RATHER THAN THE SETS THEMSELVES?

” I think the fact that the space is held within the photograph and resists our touching it keeps it unresolvable at some level, so our understanding of that place and its occupants has to occur in our imagination and in relation to the real-world things that we are familiar with or imagine exist. This relationship between the real and the fictional is important to the work; not literally—as in is it real or not?— but in relation to what we consider or imagine our actual ‘real’ world to be.”

Q
Sherwin, Skye, Art Photographers to Watch: Anne Hardy, Ten Magazine, Spring/Summer 2011, p.128.