Annabel Elgar is a photographic based artist who lives and works in London. She has an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art and her work has featured in numerous international exhibitions and publications throughout Europe and North America. Elgar's work has recently been shown in 'Theatres of the Real' at the FotoMuseum Antwerp (accompanied by a book published by Photoworks) and in the book and exhibition 'New Photography in Britain' at the Galleria Civica di Modena, Italy. She has had solo shows at the Wapping Project, London and The Wapping Project Bankside, London, Metronom, Modena, Italy and has also exhibited at, amongst others, Kunsthalle Lophem, Loppem, Belgium, Zephyr Centre for Photography, Mannheim, Germany, Sweet Briar College, Virginia, USA (three person show with Gregory Crewdson and Justine Kurland), New Art Gallery Walsall, UK, Galerie Polaris, Paris, the Museum of New Art, Detroit, USA, Error One, Antwerp, Belgium. Annabel Elgar has also collaborated with the House of Fairy Tales on a number of projects. Her work has recently featured in the Winter 2011 edition of Source Photographic Review (Issue 69).
Elgar’s photographs present an imagined archive of retreats and hideaways. Lodged somewhere between fact and fiction, they read like a fantasy labyrinth of oddball activity, conjuring up stories of human relationships, betrayal, hurt, loneliness, despair, sadness and desertion. These ‘human dramas’ often allude to contemporary events of surreptitious exchange, where issues of counterculture and collective withdrawal are predominant. The doomsday cult in Russia who withdrew into a cave for the impending Armageddon or the creationist teacher who, supported by his army of followers, branded crosses on to the arms of his pupils with an electric coil, offer an insight. However it is not just the collective agenda that is at stake in these gothic vignettes. Elgar’s work explores themes of individual identity too. The characters (who are often absent in the final image) have laboured lovingly over hand-made puppets, bread sculptures and other strange contraptions, presenting a world of endless production. In this pattern of hoarding and protecting, such ritualistic behaviour remains constant. Elgar’s vision is gently poised between the fairytale and the everyday. Conceived as ‘staged’ photography, her work is peppered with carefully honed details that present an endless proliferation of narrative possibilities.