View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
You Stole my Look 1997 is a portrait-orientated colour screenprint on white wove paper that features five cartoon-like drawings of the British artist Georgina Starr wearing different outfits set against a purple background. Written along the top of the work is the instruction ‘Choose your very own Starvision Outfit’, with five possible options spread across the composition in the style of a magazine advertisement. The drawings are of different sizes and depict Starr posing in a range of colourful outfits, from a black fur coat with accompanying scarf and hat to more summery fashions. Each of the drawings is numbered with detailed descriptions of the clothes worn and the price of the outfits (which range from £4,500 to £7,500) appearing in a vertical handwritten list on the left side of the work. Underneath the list in the bottom-left corner is a coupon for outfit orders to be sent to ‘Starvision’ in London. The title of the work is written in red in an exuberant style near the top of the work, which is signed by the artist on its reverse.
This print was made in London in 1997. Starr drew the figures by hand, before scanning them into a computer and manipulating the images using the Photoshop editing programme. It was originally made for a mock advertisement that appears in Starvision, a comic book that the artist published in 1997, with the outfits depicted being those Starr wore while she created the comic. For the book’s launch in Paris in 1997, Starr created a performance work, also titled You Stole my Look, in which five women dressed in the outfits appeared at the event as ‘Georgina Starr’ (the outfits are reproduced in Ikon Gallery 1998, p.94).
The somewhat uneven arrangement of images and texts in You Stole my Look, along with its handwritten labels and bright colours, recall teenage magazines or perhaps the homemade publications created by adolescents. In an interview with the curator Douglas Fogle in 1995, Starr explained her interest in exploring neglected, under-appreciated or forgotten cultural forms: ‘To me, trivial things are just as meaningful as things that are supposed to be important’ (quoted in Walker Art Center 1995, p.75).
In presenting self-portraits of the artist wearing different outfits, You Stole my Look can also be seen as exploring notions of identity and performance, while the title suggests the personal significance often attached to clothes. In 1997 the writer Susan Corrigan argued that Starr ‘shows only fragments of her whole self in the art she makes, and seems to like things that way’ (Susan Corrigan, ‘Pop Genius’, in Ikon Gallery 1998, p.29).
Born in Leeds in 1968, Starr studied in London at Middlesex Polytechnic (1987–9) and the Slade School of Art (1990–2), and at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (1993–4). Her practice has often involved creating multi-faceted series of works that involve a range of media and incorporate references to music, cinema and other forms of popular culture. For instance, between 1999 and 2003 she completed the Bunny Lake series, which consists of video installations, performances, drawings, photographs and paintings inspired by the films Bunny Lake is Missing (dir. Otto Preminger, 1965) and Targets (dir. Peter Bogdanovich, 1967).
You Stole my Look is part of Screen, a portfolio of eleven prints by London-based artists that was published in 1997 by Charles Booth-Clibborn under his imprint The Paragon Press. The works were all made between February and July 1997, and are presented together with a title page and colophon by the graphic designer Phil Baines in a black buckram-covered wooden case. The title of the portfolio refers to the technique of screenprinting and also alludes to the fact that many of the featured artists work with screen-based media. Each print exists in an edition of seventy-five, with the first forty-five produced in portfolio sets, of which the portfolio owned by Tate is number thirty-three.
‘Brilliant!’: New Art from London, exhibition catalogue, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 1995, pp.73–5.
Georgina Starr, exhibition catalogue, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham 1998, pp.92–4, reproduced p.77.
In Print: Contemporary British Art from the Paragon Press, exhibition catalogue, Cvijeta Zuzoric Art Pavilion, Belgrade, London 2001, p.22.
Supported by Christie’s.
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