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Everything has been left in its place. It is so dark. I can barely see my hand in front of my face. A small amount of light forces its way through the tiny grubby window, which gleams on the car. I use a torch to investigate the rest. Tins of paint left open. A packet of opened, unfinished cigarettes on the ground. His overalls hung up. His work. His notes. Important documents. Abandoned. The back window of the car has been smashed. Did he do this? Why didn't he come back here?
The memory of a person, the concept of someone not being around anymore and the trace they leave behind are themes that are at the centre of my practice. The recent loss of my great uncle really inspired me to begin a new body of work. I photographed his house as it was emptied, and recently his garage. This is a place where he used to go, it’s his place. Nobody has been to this garage for over 30 years, not even my uncle, and I still don’t know why…
I’m working with imaginative reconstruction, but instead of reconstructing a physical object in my head, I am trying to reconstruct a past event, the final scenario that happened in the garage that prevented my uncle from returning there. All that remains of him are these small traces that he has left behind.
Traces of his existence. Traces of his absence. History. Memories.
Unlike the physical traces from within his home that I knew so well, this garage presents me with a mystery. Although the garage has been neglected and looks tired, the open tins of paint and tools left out of their boxes leave a sense of unfinished business that makes it feel so alive. Everything is still in place prepared for him to continue with his work.
So why didn't he return?
© Laura Carys Thomas 2016