Confessional and political, this work is laced with sadness and humour. Transitions between private despair and public image become blurred as we fabricate ourselves with reckless abandon behind the safety of the screen. Are we trapped? drowning in our own narcissism? or capitalism? or guilt? Bowden explores the helplessness and hopelessness surrounding mental health issues, our longing for connection and our inability to reach out. The lifeguard is absent. The audience becomes complicit in watching someone 'drown' in pain before them and they are powerless to help.
Using minimal aesthetics and mixed media, this installation plays with spatial context and scale. A metal lifeguard chair looks exaggerated in height, the dwarfed 'pool' beside is a flat-screen TV (or could be a projection from the roof?) playing distorted video of a face that appears and disappears through fluid shapes and colour. 1950s 'shopping' music plays in an attempt to smooth over the tongue-in-cheek melancholic atmosphere as we come to terms with the hopelessness of the situation.
Hannah Bowden is a Sydney based interdisciplinary contemporary arts practitioner working across time-based media, sculpture, performance and installation. Hannah embraces the vulnerability of making autobiographical, confessional art, creating provocative works laced with melancholic humour that explore our longing for connection within an ever-shifting public/private realm.