'The Fold', my newest project, opens at NGV Triennial on 3rd Dec 2023
The Fold is a visual and psychological investigation of the French psychiatrist and photographer Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault (1872–1934). The project originated during research at Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, where Hoda Afshar encountered an archive of thousands of images de Clérambault took in Morocco of veiled Islamic women, and sometimes men, through which he sought to explore his psychoanalytic ideas about covering and fantasy.
Marking the first time Afshar has drawn upon an archive in her work, The Fold explores de Clérambault’s significance as a historical figure while also looking more broadly at the way we understand images. Through the recurring motif of a mirror, Afshar invites us to examine our own biases while viewing these images, particularly in relation to the veil.
Each of the components uses distinct visual strategies and artistic techniques, ranging from traditional silver mirroring and darkroom hand-printing to digital animation. For Afshar, these three works unite the main concerns of her research-based practice for a decade, in the artist’s words namely ‘questions about the political and aesthetic representation of marginal subjects and about photography’s role in both reproducing and dismantling such representations’.