Nicknames - Celebrated Sobriquets aka Always Known As
Sarah Doyle’s work explores the construction of identity through visual culture.
She has recently been using the nicknames and alter egos teenagers give themselves in her work. You will most likely have seen examples of such nicknames written on walls around most areas and as alias names on community sites such as Myspace.
Part of the show includes a Myspace portal created by Sarah Doyle were teenagers blurb from Myspace is regurgitated by young Victorian girls and showgirls.
The work looks at playing at being adult, pretending, mimicking and making believe that you are someone else. The fear of growing old and the desperation of trying to fit in.
The title of the show reflects this trying to integrate with your peers: Celebrated Sobriquets is a play on the title of the Tennessee Williams Play “The Celebrated Soubrette”, a “slapstick tragedy” about an aging showgirl whose eyes are plucked out by birds as she desperately attempts to relive her routines to impress her new acquaintances. - “She appears in bedraggled tutu, the remnant of her theatrical wardrobe; her hair is a fuzz of pink-orange curls. Like a puppet, she performs on command, delivering her outmoded numbers in a quavering voice. She is pathetically anxious to please, offering her dilapidated scrapbook to any who will look. . .. “
The original title “Soubrette” is changed to “Sobriquet” for the show to relate to the pseudonym theme. The nature of Tennessee Williams women such as Blanch Dubois was that they were tragic heroines. They would create a life they would rather inhabit, and then try to convince those around them that this lie was the truth. The girls from the show Celebrated Sobriquets also try to present a front they would like others to believe by pretending to be their aliases - “Lady Diamond” or “Thug Angel” for example.
The show at The Surgery incorporates these names made from discarded teenager’s clothing. The clothing is painstakingly shaped into childlike bubble writing creating these often-bombastic nicknames. This work is shown alongside works on mirror, the mirror pieces also include the nicknames along with portraits of young girls. The viewer looks into the mirror and can see their own face inside the face of the young girls. These mirror pieces incorporate nail varnish as paint. The young girls are all taken from pictures taken by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). His portfolio of photographic images mainly consisted of young girls and very young showgirls from music halls.