Hannah Jo Goffe-Wood

Artist Catalogue

Virtual Exhibition


My father used to paint our windows for privacy instead of buying curtains. How is the home affected by physical manifestations of trauma? I think most of us have moments when we feel like the roof is caving in, and we don't have enough hands to hold it or catch the falling pieces. In this body of work, I want to show what it's like to freeze-frame that moment. From one point of view, we see ourselves trying to achieve the impossible, and from another, we see all the pieces suspended in the air, in their out-of-place spaces. The temporal nature and juxtaposition of endurance and impermanence interests me. There is a boundary between the two that breeds a sense of artificial peace of mind. My goal was to empathetically replace the othering of trauma with solidarity and recognition.

I have taken great inspiration from the home environment. I utilise domestic cleaning materials in many of my works, as the symbolic act of cleaning resonated with me when considering the ways we work through trauma. I took time to examine the curatorial devices present within the homespace and utilised them within my exhibition space to marry the homespace and gallery space. The majority of my work is photography, as this diverse medium can illustrate in a myriad of ways. I was particularly interested in the ways in which we can reframe mundane objects by capturing them in a new light photographically, placing the viewer on the fence between the familiar and unfamiliar. The study of this duality was sparked by two films that inspired me throughout this project. The first was the Wizard of Oz; a twister transports Dorothy to Oz. To me, this was a powerful visualisation of the transgressor projecting themselves onto the homespace, forcing Dorothy to escape to another world. The second was the 1982 children’s horror film Poltergeist, wherein a home and its family is disturbed and turned upside down due to an unwanted spirit. The fantastical activation of the home in this film was, to me, a hypervisual realisation of the physical effects of trauma in the home.

In my body of work, the house stands as a metaphor for the self. As the audience passes through the space, I expect people to uniquely relate to different works. However, the overarching feeling that there is something holding you back, not of your own volition, is omnipresent. Through becoming aware of the spaces we inhabit and the ways in which we interact with them, I imagine what it would be like for one's own temperament and personal, homely secrets to spill out at the seams and announce themselves in a world with no curtains or painted windows. I hope the audience gets to pass through the space and gain a sense of reverence for the way in which we occupy the spaces we live in, and how they are altered by our past experiences.There’s no place like home.