MARGARET SALMON

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FOR THE ARCHIVES

— In 2006 I began working on a project about mothers with young children, filmed in Italy. The search was massive (for me anyway), taking me into homes across the country. There were 2 women with whom I shot some test footage, Maria Mauela in Biella and Ulli in Milan. Neither woman made it into the final work, for reasons I do not remember. I’ve always thought of that footage with longing, wanting to acknowledge it somehow. I love the idea of pillaging my own archives (being thrifty, not wasting good footage) and essentially finding a way to use the outtakes as a separate work, a shadow work. It hasn’t happened yet, so here are some scraps to share, for the archives, the lovely Ulli and Maria Manuela. Funnily the footage for Maria Manuela appears in an interview I did for a BBC special about Technicolor. We shot a scene of me editing the vibrant color footage in the basement of the Royal College of Art, while I clumsily tried to describe my practice in voiceover. The reversal stock does look pretty good though and the shine on her top is pretty exciting…

That same year I was in NY and heard about a new truck that was going to be “christened” at our local fire company – what firemen call a Wetdown. Buying a new firetruck is a very big deal for a fire company (I’ve been told) and when a new truck arrives they host a big party for all of the volunteers and their family and friends. Other surrounding companies will send a truck and some men to deluge the new truck. They drive up, one after the other, and blast the truck with water for a few minutes. I really have no idea why I filmed this! Some of the footage is pretty strange though and I’ve always remembered it as something fantastical and exotic.


Born in 1975 in Suffurn, New York, Margaret Salmon lives and works between Kent, London, and New York. She creates filmic portraits that weave together poetry and ethnography. Focusing on individuals in their everyday habitats, her films capture the minutiae of daily life and infuse them with gentle grandeur, touching upon universal human themes. Margaret Salmon won the first Max Mara Art Prize for Women in 2006. Her work was shown at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and the Berlin Biennale in 2010 and was featured in individual exhibitions at Witte de With in Rotterdam and Whitechapel Gallery in London among others.

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