Untitled (Boy)


Untitled (Boy) was taken at a friend’s house and is a portrait of her son. She allowed me take a lot of pictures of her three young children over a number of years. I was fascinated by how they used the home and how the everyday became transformed through their absorption in their activities. From the hundreds of pictures I took I have exhibited only four – looking for an intense distillation of all that I was seeing and feeling.

Untitled (Boy) was first shown in the group exhibition Lilith at MOT International, London in 2004, artists included Runa Islam and Sonia Boyce. It was subsequently selected by Alistair Robinson, Director Northern Gallery, Contemporary Art for ‘Pilot:1’ in 2004, an international art forum for artists set up by Colin Guillemet, Doriane Laithier, Rory Macbeth, Elizabeth McAlpine and Matthew Poole.

Extract from Lilith Press Release, MOT: ‘The Myth of Lilith appears in a number of different forms across various religions.  Lilith is both, inspiration; giver of knowledge, the strong autonomous woman, while at the same time portrayed as a night demon that strangles babies, possesses young women through mirrors and seduces men away from their wives.  Jewish Myth casts Lilith as made of the same dust and time as Adam; she refuses to be his sexual inferior and escapes Eden, using her superior knowledge.  God is unable to persuade her to return and makes Eve from the rib of Adam in an attempt to insure woman’s subservience to man.

What interested MOT about this myth are its oppositional interpretations and subsequent appropriations.  MOT looked for work that questions its own nature and its material make up offering ambiguous readings, both satisfying and frustrating interpretation in its relation to the viewer and the context of the exhibition….

Melanie’s Stidolph’s medium is photography, long held to be a mirror to reality, with the capacity to seduce and shock through the horror of recognition.  Stidolph presents an image of a naked young boy having just dismounted a swing in a lush garden, the last days of summer, gloriously back lit by the late afternoon sun.  By chance the pose and setting are classical, reminiscent of an early religious masterpiece and although no narrative is intended the work acts as an open book onto which the viewer can project their own reading.’