Helen Barff

 London, UK – Sculpture, Textile

Untitled (Shoulder, Hip, Lap), 2016

jesmonite, concrete, steel, wax 

165 x 32 x 42 cm; 110 x 36 x 51 cm; 74 x 36 x 52 cm

These are casts against points of the body where the artist has physical memory of holding small children, at corresponding heights.

Inspired by the physical memory of holding the weight of a child, but also a visit to the British Museum and seeing the Pathenon sculptures, she held a sack of jesmonite (roughly the weight of a small child) against her shoulder, hip and lap. The plinths are the heights corresponding to her body part.

07 Untitled (RB), 2013

(Cast of inside of bra), plaster
(and steel rod for mounting) 

34.5 x 11 x 7 cm

£1200

05 Untitled (BBB), 2011  

(Cast of inside of bra), plaster
(and steel rod for mounting) 

17 x 11 x 12.5 cm

£1200

03 Untitled (STB), 2011

(Cast of inside of bra), plaster
(and steel rod for mounting) 

30 x 12.5 x 9.5 cm

£1200

I work with found objects and materials such as felt, plaster, concrete, rubber or photographic surfaces, using processes such as wrapping, casting or other interventions in space and surface. I am interested in how materials are shaped by temporality, or how memory becomes embedded in matter. A sensitivity to touch is central to my practice. Each series of work indexes a ‘site of memory’. I am currently engaged in research exploring autobiographical memories contained in belongings, particularly the intimacy of clothing. Clothing helps define our identity, memories of absent clothing can take us back to a remembered place or person.

Artist’s Bio:

Helen Barff is an artist based in London. She graduated from Goldsmiths in 1999 and Camberwell Drawing MA in 2004. She has exhibited internationally and recently developed cross disciplinary projects that explore memory through narratives and material interaction. Her 2019 Arts Council funded solo show, Memory of Clothes, was at Worthing Museum.