She gets her best ideas in the evening, at about 10 pm, says Claire Harvey. It was probably around this time of day that she conceived the idea for the exhibition ‘When what was when’. Harvey fills the gallery’s space with her figures of varying sizes, familiar strangers, figures we encounter nowhere and everywhere, every day. Different though they may be, each one is in a state of supreme concentration, the moment at which you lose yourself, a state that compels all your attention and will not allow the slightest distraction. ‘When what was when’ refers to the extraordinary moment at which an idea exists only in time; like a time capsule that must explode in space if it is to acquire actual form.
Harvey’s characters lead a mysterious existence: some are fixed on a canvas or transparent foil,while others exist only by virtue of a temporary illusion. Her subtle projections transform the space into a mysterious, playful Wonderland. As a viewer you want to enter this world, your shadow moves among the puzzling figures that casually, silently point the way to look. In the reality created by Harvey, you find yourself constantly wondering what is real and what is illusion: projected images overshoot the frame, they slip away from you if you try to hold on to them. The force of gravity and all other certainties are strangely refuted here, so that the question automatically arises: what would happen if we were to arrange the world differently?
Harvey’s sharp powers of observation originate from the time she was an art student in London, and sketched the people she saw on the public transport system on