What is a likeness? When someone or something has gone, an essence of someone that has been here, someone that has just left? How do you represent something you cannot see?
Layla Rudneva-Mackay is an Auckland-based artist whose photographs imply subtle inhabitations of space, from portraits of friends glimpsed from behind to temporary huts made from bed sheets. 6 French Street, New Plymouth 2003 presents three images from 2003 yet not shown publicly until now. The images were created when Rudneva-Mackay was working on the set of the international film The Last Samurai. Filmed in the small New Zealand town of New Plymouth, crew members were hosted in houses vacated by locals for the duration of the shoot.
Rudneva-Mackay’s documentation of her rented accommodation reveals the silent presence of an unknown landlord through a series of notes attached to domestic implements throughout the house. A disembodied voice utters anxious commands and recommendations: from instructions on keeping the dish cloth clean to how to turn the shower on. If the notes are disturbingly obsessive in their detail, they also reflect the larger strangeness of an entire city turned over to the external force field of a Hollywood film production.