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"Hotel Rooms: Photographs by Cathy Laudenbach
2001-03-30 until 2001-04-21
24 HR Art - Northern Territory Centre for Contemporary Art
In this exhibition Laudenbach, who has recently moved to Canberra after living in the Northern Territory, is continuing to explore the theme of memory and nostalgia through the motif of the uninhabited interior. The show consists of large-scale photographic images of the interiors of old hotel rooms. Not specifically located in any one place or time – these interiors evoke a haunting sense of disquiet and vacancy. Australia is still full of these places, generic on one level and deeply particular on another. The photos, like the rooms they depict, act as repositories of a shared experience.
The work's foundation lies in documentary photography. The artists states: Rooms that in their day may have represented luxury, the height of fashion, the allure of the new, ...now look cheap, dated and different, almost like stage sets. By photographing existing rooms in old hotels that were built and decorated in the past, the photographs belong simultaneously to the present and the past.
Photographs appear to tell stories, and these images encapsulate the possibility of a multitude of stories as the rooms are inhabited by different bodies every night. And yet any trace of those bodies and their experience is ritually expunged every morning as the cleaners move through, leaving towels fanned out in a bizarre display on chenille bedspreads. While the work does not contain people, the photos are about people.