Hannah Starkey born 1971

Artist biography

British photographer. She studied in Edinburgh at Napier University (1992–5) and at the Royal College of Art, London (1996–7). Starkey's earliest work, produced in the mid-1990s, suggested a conventional documentary approach and was often characterised by a preoccupation with the resonance of ordinary objects. In her later work she began to capture more portentous scenes, recording activities with an almost theatrical character. Untitled – March 1999 (1999; see Frieze, Sept/Oct 2000, p. 89), part of the Untitled series begun in 1997, is typical of her mature work, both in its ostensible subject of two women and in the enigmatic mood of the piece, which is set in a public lavatory with a series of mirrors multiplying perspectives. Untitled – January 2000 (2000; see 2000 exh. cat., pl. VII) also takes as its subject two women in an urban setting, this time a video store, while again a dramatic perspective is established through the architecture of the interior. Often, the young women in Starkey's photographs seem bored and melancholic and appear to be waiting for time to pass; she has described her work as ‘explorations of everyday experiences and observations of inner city life from a female perspective'. A number of her photographs have been set out of doors, sometimes seeming to carry with them a quasi-religious symbolism or a sense of the artificiality of nature, as in Butterfly Catchers (2000; see Frieze, Sept/Oct 2000, p. 89), which depicts two girls stumbling precariously over rubble under a darkened sky.

Hannah Starkey (exh. cat., essay by M. Beccaria; Turin: Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, 1999)
A. Farquharson: ‘Girls Interrupted', Frieze, Sept/Oct 2000, pp. 88–89
Hannah Starkey: Moments in the Modern World (exh. cat., essay by V. Williams, Dublin, Irish MOMA, 2000)

03 April 2001

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