Natasha Caruana's Fairytale for Sale is a recent acquisition by The Hyman Collection. The installation explores wedding customs in the UK, revealing the fantasy, performance and trophy moments of the traditional big day. The series consists of online adverts of brides wearing redundant wedding dresses.
The smiling faces of the bride, groom and their entourages' are blocked out in white, cloned over, smothered in blue tac or scratched off in a bid to disguise and make anonymous their private day now in the public arena. What remains are bizarre theatres of marriage; white-faced performers have taken to the stage and act out emblematic scenes.
The artist is posing as someone on the quest for the perfect dress and by opening a dialogue with the brides, she befriends them in order to gain higher resolution images than those used in the adverts. The brides reveal that the artefacts of the big day are being discarded; sold for money to de-clutter the wardrobe, make space for births or in some cases because the dresses are now tainted with divorce. Their words punctuate the images.
The original wedding album represents the trophy, the validation of a ceremony, a ritual performed, a tradition upheld as a record of the perfect day. But now the party is over, the cake has been eaten, the presents have been opened, and the photographs have been framed; the online adverts represent the detritus, the props of the fairytale wedding production.