Annabel Elgar’s practice centres principally on staged photography and the handmade creation of details and backdrops that tread the line between fact and fiction, questioning the slippery nature of truth. She is interested in archival imagery and mementoes, and how they function to offer up different narrative accounts of recollection
Elgar’s recent series, ‘Notes from Rafat’, is seen through the lens of a Viewmaster, a 1970s relic from her childhood; ‘Noon in the Desert’ recreates complex histories of the atomic bomb test sites in Nevada in the 1950s through the aesthetic of the dolls’ house miniature; whilst ‘Cheating the Moon’ takes as its starting point the stolen and missing moonrocks from the Apollo Missions, presenting an archive of moonrock findings that refers to both factual and fictitious sources.
The act of ‘making’ has always been a central part of Elgar’s practice, whether crafting backdrops, puppets or props for her photographs. In the last couple of years – and more specifically as the UK entered lockdown – she has also used the medium of embroidery and cross-stitch, interested in how these delicate, tactile objects represent both souvenirs of memory and the historical role of women who otherwise would have had few opportunities to record their personal histories. Elgar’s series, ‘Lockdown Cross-stitch’, started as the UK government pondered whether to lockdown or not. Characters appear vulnerable and lost, suspended in spaces stripped of locality and context, created in tandem with the swirling chaos of the outside world. Role play and disguise offer a child-like point of release, providing comfort and fantasy worlds in counterpoint to the increasingly narrow confines of home.