13 May 2006 - 07 May 2006

, The Crying Room


The Crying Room is a new series of photographs from Adelaide based artist Deborah Paauwe. The series continues her ongoing investigation of the female subject.

Enveloped in silk dresses, lace trim and layers of tulle the two subjects inhabit a dreamy world filled with soft feminine details. Their sweet creamy dresses speak of an upcoming event, a milestone perhaps. The gentle caresses exchanged by the girls are ambiguous, as is their age. We are unsure as to whether we are witness to an innocent childhood connection or a more aware erotic liaison. As Anne Marsh notes, "The images are both dangerous and playful. They capture a coming of age, a transition from childhood to adult sexuality..."

We observe the girls in quiet, intimate moments, seemingly oblivious to the presence of the camera. The voyeuristic nature of the images is heightened as the girl's faces are obscured; with no fear of having our gaze returned we are left free to stare at the figures with total abandonment. Paauwe denies us total access, carefully cropping the images to withhold many of the details of the moment.

As the title "The Crying Room" hints, this series of 7 new works is filled with an underlying melancholy. Shot in a highly controlled studio environment, Paauwe has laced the interior of these luscious photographs with subtle cues that allude to something lurking beneath their surface. Bruises, scratches, bitten nails all suggest a trauma that contradicts our initial reading of these otherwise picturesque images. As Melbourne-based curator Kate Rhodes defines, "they are beautiful in the way champagne and chocolates are beautiful but with a wonderful perversity...."

Artwork from exhibition by  ,

Obscure Harmony

75 x 75cm, 120 x 120cm, unique print of 180 x 180 cm
Edition of 6 with two AP's
Type C photograph