© James Payne

Untitled, from the series "A Stranger To Me", 2004
C-Type Print, 13,5 x 30,5 cm

James Payne
A Stranger To Me

"A Stranger To Me" is a new photographic installation by James Payne that mixes elements of the artist's own life and a fascination with Hollywood illusionism. Using a recently restored Georgian House as a backdrop, the images are of the man whose job it was to paint the house in which he is now photographed.

Within the house, homely touches and ornamentation have been removed giving a blank, almost mundane canvas as the setting. The house has an opulent nothingness to it leading attention to the interior life of the subject.

Inspired by "classic" Hollywood narrative cinema, the images use a cinematic screen ratio aspect and are shot using only natural light with no manipulation or digital imaging. "A Stranger To Me" focuses on the cinematic experience but uses a series of small- scale images identical in size to impart a sense of claustrophobia and off-screen paranoia.

The piece suggests the overall sensation of an unfolding story or film as opposed to a prescribed single narration, portraying the diegetic space in cinema and allowing gaps in the narrative. There is no single tale, the pictures exploring the sort of narrative rarely explicit in Hollywood cinema, the quiet moments in-between the plot, what critic George Kouvaris calls "dead time". What is portrayed is fundamentally a "non-event", moments of confusion, unease and uncertainty.

The title "A Stranger To Me" comes from a letter Anton Chekhov wrote to his wife in 1902.

"A Stranger To Me" is part of Photomonth.

Exhibition: September 24 - October 17 2004
Opening hours: Thu-Sun 12 - 6 pm

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