Interview by Mona Hakim @ After All Journal
MH: All of your photographic work, dating from the 1970s to today, concentrates on semi-public interior spaces. You began with domestic interiors but since the 1980s the primary subject matter has been observational or institutional rooms. These are strange, disturbing places, sometimes even menacing. Where does your interest in such places come from?1
LC: It's difficult to say, except that I seem drawn to interiors that are strange as well as familiar. I sometimes think they find me rather than the other way around. But what you say is true. Pretty much everything I've photographed has an air of strangeness. This is curious, because the subject matter is quite banal – a living room, a classroom, a spa… The strangeness is partly due to the fact that the ordinary is often more menacing than the blatantly bizarre, which can be easily dismissed as impossible. Perhaps it is also because the places are so familiar that they are a bit too close for comfort. In a 1992 exhibition catalogue essay 'The Scene of the Crime'2, Jean-Pierre Criqui links Freud's notion of the uncanny with my work. The idea is that the familiar, far from being benign, has the potential to be far more unsettling than the unusual. In the same essay, Criqui points to a similar phenomenon in a Kafka story where an inanimate object takes on human qualities in the way that furniture and paraphernalia in the rooms I photograph assume human characteristics.