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Marjolaine Ryley: ‘Villa Mona – a proper kind of house’

Exhibition dates:  9 - 23 September 2006 
Book launch Sunderland:  Thursday 21 September 2006 6:00 - 8:00pm
Book launch London:   Thursday 5 October 2006 6:30 - 8:30pm

"For Ryley as a child this family home in Belgium was experienced through difference. It stood in stark contrast to her life in the Britain where she grew up in squats and lived as part of transitory communities with her parents.  She was to learn the rituals and routines of traditional family and domestic life in Villa Mona for the first time and they were both puzzling and alienating to her. This led to a fascination with Villa Mona, and perhaps a need to inscribe her place within it, which led to this body of work. She wanted to explore it further and her approach became more akin to an anthropologist examining social behaviour in a foreign land, except of course that this was her family".   Camilla Brown

Marjolaine Ryley's photographs are intimate, psychologically charged portraits of domestic spaces, which explore our experience of family relationships and the way in which we experience them as tied to place. 'Villa Mona' is the name of the family house on the Belgian coast that her family have a long association with. The series of photographs here create a portrait of the house and its current and previous occupants, quietly observing the traces of human presence - "the residues of past lives" - that have accrued there. The artist's approach is, as she remarks, "like that of an archaeologist, sifting, revealing and preserving" the layers of previous lives. Ryley's images record the inhabitants who have furnished their rooms with memories and mementoes accrued over the twentieth century: their evocative and elegiac atmosphere makes palpable the passing of time. In Villa Mona, the domestic or private and public realms overlap.

Exhibition curated by Sian Bonnell.

'Villa Mona - a proper kind of house' is published by TRACE Editions: 88pp hardback 180x180mm; £20.00 / special exhibition price £15.00

Also launched at The Photographers Gallery Bookshop, 8 Great Newport Street, on 5 October 2006 between 6:30 - 8:30pm.

From 'Villa Mona - a poper kind of house' 2006