Storefront transforms a previously empty commercial space in Bute Street into an environment where artists can experiment, engage new audiences, share work-in-progress and test ideas.

The Changing Room: Portraits of Contemporary Women in Britain by Catrine Val

Fri 18 Jan – Sat 23 Mar 2019, Every Thu – Sat, 1PM – 6PM

Special late opening event Fri 8 Mar International Women’s Day 6.30pm – 8.30pm

Departure Lounge and Luton Culture have invited acclaimed German artist Catrine Val to create an exhibition of insightful, new photographic and video portraits of women living in the Luton area.

"I believe the human figure and how we present ourselves - the clothes and adornments we choose - is a window on the soul." Catrine Val

The exhibition aims to explore the importance clothing plays in personal and cultural identity and how working environments can limit women’s everyday fashion choices and the ability to express their personality, cultural heritage or religious beliefs.

To highlight the “dual identity” that many women lead through their wardrobe, Catrine Val will invite Lutonian women to pose for two formal portraits. In each duo-portrait, Val’s subjects will be photographed wearing their professional, day-to-day clothing and then wearing the clothes that define their cultural or national identity, or lifestyle and fashion choices. The double portraits will display the contrast between the sitter’s two “personalities” and will highlight fashions and accessories which may be alternative or non-western, but which are increasingly contemporary, British and cross-cultural.

In order to create these double portraits of local female sitters, Catrine Val will transform Departure Lounge’s Storefront gallery into a fashion photography studio and changing room, just prior to the exhibition. Women will be invited to be photographed in their own clothes, in some cases sharing the rich histories associated with particular garments. Inspired by Luton’s rich heritage of hat-making, sitters will also have the option of experimenting with a variety of head-wear. Bringing the acute vision of the “outsider” to Luton, Catrine hopes to make the personal narratives of the town’s women visible, offering an opportunity to share stories which, because of the pressure of work, social convention or the class structure are often hidden. To find out more about being photographed for this project follow please click here.

The photographs produced in The Changing Room will be exhibited at The Storefront, Luton, from 18 January to 9 March 2019 with a closing event coinciding with International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March.




64 Bute Street ,
Lu1 2EY
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