British photographer Elaine Duigenan
offers us intimate views of synthetic fibers designed to attract, seduce,
and encourage desire. She presents exquisite details of women's nylon
stockings — pale specimens glowing in inky black space and suspended
These modern-day digital photograms appear sometimes as sculptural landscapes, or surreptitious satellite views of forbidden territories.
They are intriguing in their casual flung-offness and overlapping textures, crisply detailed in their softness. With the photographic process, she has discovered yet another way to fetishize one of the ultimate fetish objects in western civilization — these filmy sleeves designed with logic and intent to accentuate with a sheen, the curve of an ankle or a calf.
The scientific, archaeological approach to this study also reveals, of course, a sort of tug and pull between machine-manufactured intention, and the delicate, playful and flirty, and the serious, seamed and sensuous. This tension, the subtle tonal range, and the tight cropping, make these images rich and generous in all they have to offer.
In her artist's statement, Duigenan says: "The ghostly images have a multitude of referents and manage to hover between 'intimations of elegance' and downright quirkiness.
"Ultimately perhaps the dialogue they prompt has to do with perfection and imperfection, residing somewhere between the smoothness and the wrinkles, and in the tension of close-knit and loosening threads..."
Objects examined range from vintage 'stockings' to the more contemporary nylons. Titles are derived from real terms used as descriptions on packaging and promotions.
The artist has also compiled a brief written history of stockings which you may find interesting, as well.
"This work is my self-defense system against the invasion of my field of vision by the 'made-up image"—an impassioned and critical examination of how today's endless flow of mass media destabilises our basic perception of reality.
"In all their simplicity, these items are the last resort of identity, the last permanent reminder that these people ever existed." A stark but powerful tribute to the victims of the Bosnian War.