Portrait of a Postmodern Illness
The portraits of M.E. sufferers with their eyes closed offer a metaphorical representation of their invisible illness and lives lived in the shadow of alienation, social exclusion, controversy and loss of identity.
In her essay “Lived Experience as Theatre”(2008), social anthropologist Lakshmi Krishnamurty, suggests that empowerment comes from making public something that used to be kept private and transforming what was a private indignity into a public social problem.
Keeping this concept in mind, this project considers how photographic practice might articulate aspects of M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), a global illness that is not only ‘invisible’, but has also been challenged in terms of its existence.
By utilising the personal view of ME sufferers through staged photographic portraits, environmental photographs, SenseCam images, and diary notes, alongside the worldview of ME outbreaks via Google Earth, Juliet’s project explores and tests different strategies of visually representing M.E..
About the Artist
Juliet Chenery-Robson is a visual artist who works mainly with lens-based media. She is currently doing an AHRC (Arts & Humanities Research Council) funded, practice-led PhD in Photography at the University of Sunderland. Her research practice focuses on the visual representation of the invisible illness M.E.
Juliet’s work has been exhibited around the UK in empty office spaces with the support of the charities Life with Art, ME Research UK and ME North East. Solo exhibitions include Durham Art Gallery and Newcastle University Medical Facility. Group exhibitions include The Customs House (South Shields), Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (Sunderland), The Social Festival of Photography 2014, Abbey Walk Gallery (Grimsby), Great Ormond Street Hospital (London), Talks & papers include The Royal College of Art (London), PEALS at Newcastle University and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.