Six Scenes (2017)
HD video, Colour with sound, Duration 8′:11”, Dimensions variable.
Six Scenes Installation view, Serlachius Museum Gustaf, 2022
Six Scenes Installation View, Hestercombe Gallery, 2017
Six Scenes is inspired by the stories about Hestercombe House, a run down stately home in Somerset, England. Mrs Portman was the last resident. She lived there from 1872 until her death in 1953. Widowed early in her marriage, she ran the vast estate independent of the influence of men. Deeply religious and a stickler for time, she was completely intolerant of tardiness. She had peculiar rules for her staff, for example, not allowing the house servants to look out of the windows into the garden. She liked her lady’s maid to stroke her feet with a feather to help induce sleep.
Crossing the disciplines of performance, photography and film, I drew on extensive archive material such as photographs, drawings, newspaper clippings, letters and testimonies. Combining fact, fiction and fantasy, and playing all the roles myself, I filmed six scenes in the imagined relationship between Mrs Portman and her maid. In doing this, I touch on a broad range of themes that span past and present, including class, gender and role-play, control and letting go, body and gesture, and the uncertain, ambiguous relationship between public and private, in the quintessential English countryside.