Bethlem’s collection of photographs of Victorian-era patients taken by Henry Hering (currently on display at Museum Dr Guislain in Belgium, as we reported last month) have again been the subject of artistic interest. Earlier this year a brief but evocative filmic response to the photographs of Eliza C. and Thomas W. was made and uploaded to YouTube by Nathalie Joffre. Now a three-screen installation by Joffre, entitled He told me that his garden…, is about to be exhibited this month in the galleries of the London College of Communication, as part of a display of the College’s MA photography student work called A Forming State. The installation showcases her further response to the Hering collection. “For me”, she writes, “exploring Hering’s archives has involved the experience of a double inability: the inability to look at them as a simple collection of portraits and also my inability to appropriate them entirely. However, these inabilities have not meant failure, but an endless process of exploring, feeling, imagining, and remembering.” Eagle-eyed viewers of He told me that his garden… may care to weigh our Archivist’s merits as a ‘hand actor’!
A Forming State runs from 14 to 24 November 2012 at London College of Communication, SE1 6SB (nearest tube Elephant and Castle). Hours are 10am to 6pm, Monday to Friday from 14 to 23 November inclusive, and additionally 10am to 4pm on Saturday 17 and Saturday 24 November.