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… In the same way that Ana Casas Broda becomes a blank canvas for her children’s imagination, or added material for their developmental play, the works of Hannah Putz render the mother and infant as bodies transformed into sculpture. It seems that there is an element to birthing a child that marries so well to the process of making art, as though the experience or observation of such a profoundly physically experience best links to the other most profoundly physical experience, that of making art. Here, we are dealing with photography, but the works in ‘Home Truths’ constantly reference all other techniques of making an emotional life visible, that of painting, performance, and sculpture. Fred Hüning’s depictions of his wife are intrinsically linked to Renaissance portraiture of the Virgin Mary. Like Putz, he makes use of the same pastel palette and soft, illuminating light. Like Elina Brotherus and Broda, he too employs the motif of the bathtub; he does so as a portrait of his naked wife’s body submerged, with their young son’s head appearing between her legs to once again present a marriage of Eros and Thantos. Hüning’s version of the repeated motif acts as reminder of the beginning of the child’s life, but also of the potentially suffocating role of the mother. Although in a different way, Elina Carucci also re-visits the bathtub, and often sits with her children in ‘typical’ mother and child poses. Whilst Hüning’s virgin wife is clothed not in fine ultramarine robes, but rather in either a head towel or a hoodie, Carruci presents the iconic mother figure sitting on the toilet with her knickers pulled down; both, in their own ways, showing clearly that there is always an awareness, if not a total subversion of what has gone before…

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Home Truths, 2014

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