As my online serial 'Mrs Brown's Diary' draws closer to it's final post this coming Sunday, it seems fitting that I have just finshed reading the book which inspired my project in the first place.
I first became aware of the existance of the book, 'MM Personal' when I read an article in Vanity Fair called 'The Things She Left behind'. The article covered the hidden cache of treasures left behind by Marilyn Monroe which had previously been unseen.
I found flicking throught the beautiful photos of everyday items like reciepts, perfume bottles and jewellery fascinating and I began to formulate the idea of basing an art work around belongings that told a story. I started by looking into female ephemera; the hub or altar of artifice, the dressing table. Readers sent in photos of their own dressing tables for me to display in the 'Dressing Table Gallery' and from there I went on to try and decypher the meanings and stories each photo hinted towards.
The gallery was excellent research for my collaborative project with Stoke Potteries Museum and Art Gallery where I was invited to give my response to the Decorative Arts collection housed in the museum. I knew straight away I wanted to create a 'room' with objects which told a story. What better room for gorgeous belongings and hidden meanings than a dressing room? The subsequent display has been on show at the museum since March and also finishes this coming Sunday, 11th September.
The objects took the lead in telling the story which is now transcribed in 'Mrs Brown's Diary', Mrs Brown being the fictitious owner of the dressing room, revealing it's secrets through her private musings.
I found MM Personal a wonderful insight into Marilyn's life, but also from an artists point of view found it creates an illustration of Marilyn without Marilyn, she is obviously absent but strangely present. Her choices, likes, dislikes and actions are in every document and item.
It is my hope that the dressing room at Stoke's museum has a simlar atmosphere, and that Mrs Brown's Diary completes an evocative picture of an individual and a time inspired by objects.
Image by Mark Anderson www.markandersonphoto.com
Marilyn has once again been an inspirartion, this time not just because of her sex appeal or her acting work, but literally because of the things she left behind. Her half used Chanel No5 photographed so lovingly shows how the idea of a person could be transferred so eloquently onto objects. How a story can be contructed through clues left within belongings.