RESORT – open at Pallant House in Chichester until 2nd October

Bar Rosso, 2011. From the series Resort. © Anna Fox 2011

Exert from press release written by Dr Roni Brown

“Fox sees in the Butlins experience a series of social encounters set against the culture, values and commercial imperatives of a successful and evolving business. Fox sees business in operation – the sets and costumes, the highly trained redcoats, but she also sees the tools, the construction and the evolving site (things decay, multi-million pound hotels emerge). ‘In my photographs I have tried to give small clues to the theatrical nature of the Butlins resort by making sure there are always details of the world behind the stage set visible at the edges of the images.’ Fox also conveys that unique proposition of a Butlins holiday, one that is highly self-contained, safe and family orientated: children and adults alike create moments of sheer fantasy – there is freedom of expression here – and there is boredom and waiting and conspicuous consumption too.  Moving between the poles of the ordinary and extraordinary is Fox’s leitmotif. In Anna Fox: Photographs 1983-2007  Fox finds the surreal and funny in her Hampshire village, depicts the social fabric of Basingstoke as a new business hub, and with extraordinary care and honesty explores the relationship of her parents as they deal with long term illness.  The reason I find Fox’s work so apprehending is that she appears to judge so well how to engage with the subject of her work, with warmth or humour, or when to observe with cool neutrality. In this exhibition, the topic of holiday, leisure and class are clearly close to hand, but so to is the level of the artistic challenge. How to represent these themes is as much a technical challenge as it is a creative and political one. …There is a deliberately hyper-real quality to Fox’s interpretation of the Butlins experience – that is contrasted with simple everyday pleasures. As Fox says ‘I am interested in how we all are, in society and our desires more than I am actually interested in the brand.  The brand has grown out of our society and as such could be seen as a metaphor for our desires.’ “