You Are Not Outside

I returned to France for a second residency in Caylus in 2016. The artist studios there were based in a disused Gendarmerie that, as well as a prison, had also been the family home of the local policeman.

I was struck by the Blue Studio that was still papered in a pale blue floral design. I could imagine how its illusion of delicacy and order would offer comfort from the rural realities outside, or down below, in the cells. But somehow it jarred, and I wanted to make a response that animated the feelings this room had aroused in me. I made a continuous frottage path drawing along a favoured route, using mulberry paper made from pounded mulberry tree fibers, a form of bark cloth.

Out of this drawing, I decided to make a paper dress using a vintage pattern that resonated with the time period and decoration found in the Blue Studio. It was finished off with ink-dipped grass buttons and then hung from the door frame. While just as dislocated from the outside environment as the room, its decoration is drawn literally from the external terrain and is therefore intended as a provocation to engage more with the materiality of the natural environment rather than be content with only an illusion of it.

 © 2020 by Laura Donkers

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