27 May – 7 June
The work explores the definition of its own title and asks the viewer to contemplate the crimes or woes of each subject. The term, ‘damage’ can reach an understanding that in fact all humans experience damage and that this pain, woe, experience or ailment can be shown with beauty through facial expression. Ball asks not only to see the subject’s ‘damage’ but to interpret the concept of ‘Damage’ and in some cases let the portraits reflect the suffering or injustice many have endured.
During the 19th century facial features, head shapes and other anatomical configurations were believed important in diagnosing and predicting mental illness. ‘Physiognomy’ was deemed critical in understanding psychiatric conditions. Sarahs Ball’s initial collection of photography allowed her to view these subjects with utter objectivity and was able to paint the bare debasement and impairment of each individual. The brutality and naked insight that photography allows has enabled Ball to convey a unique subtlety and depth in these portraits. The very nature and size of Ball’s work portrays the subject’s close dynamic with the photographer and the imagined uncomfortable environment the subjects endured. The results depict an artistic yet truthful glimpse into each soldier, prisoner, woman or patient. The viewer has a partial but instant view into a damaged yet tender life experience.
The Coningsby Callery can be found at 30 Tottenham St, London W1T 4RJ.