used clothing and shoes, washing line, pegs
The presence of absence, 2019 was an immersive installation in a decommissioned prison cell at B-Wing exhibition, in Shepton Mallet Prison from 21 Sept - 6 Oct 2019.
The clothes we choose to wear are part of our identity; they’re often thought of as a second skin. Soft and impermanent, they remind us of our mortality. When worn, they take on the shape of the wearer and become sculptural; empty, they suggest absence. Hanging them increases this sense of loss. Each article of clothing holds a trace of the person who has worn it, their smell or a memory; that other, distinctive smell of second hand clothes provokes a darker range of responses - abjection, claustrophobia and contamination anxiety. It's the presence of absence.
For more photos have a look at Lou Baker, The presence of absence, 2019 on the B-Wing website.
I'm very interested in the links between clothing and body, and in used clothing and absence. Have a look at my undergraduate dissertation on Academia Lou Baker, Second skin: used clothing and representations of the body in the work of Louise Bourgeois and Christian Boltanski, 2014.
I have used second hand clothing in a number of my sculptures, installations and socially engaged projects over the years:
2022 Transitional objects, a series of 5 sculptures made with my parents' old bedding and towels
2022 permission to play, a participatory collaboration with Oliver Bliss, part of The Holburne Open, University of Bath, 25 Mar – 23 Apr
2015 All the babies I might have had 2, baby clothes, leather, felted hand knitting, zips, stitch
2014 Nobody 1, imitation leather, used clothing, zips