Claire Macdonald just graduated from Goldsmiths with a degree in fine art and history of art. Launderette was her final degree show work and it has since been exhibited at the Lacey Contemporary Gallery where it won first prize in the summer arts competition.
Claire Macdonald’s practice is about mapping an atmosphere, a ‘psycho-geographical’ space. She gravitates towards places to which people normally pay no attention, yet which, precisely because of their blankness, encourage the free flow of thought. She aims to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Her current exhibit investigates the launderette. Between 2014 and 2015 she visited a number of launderettes in East London, approaching people who were waiting for their laundry and asking them if they would talk to her on camera. This environment of everyday chores, of communal
washing and casual conversation, but also of contemplation and waiting, encourages people to open up. As the men wash their laundry and reflect on their lives, the barrier between public and private is blurred.
An accompanying photograph of an empty laundry basket asks the viewer to see this humble object in a new light. The empty basket resonates with the absent presence of its users, both past and future. In the words of one of the men: ‘What happened to me last September, having my bucket too full and just having to have a break, that makes you think . . . What am I carrying around?’