Villa Noailles is an early Modernist house built by Robert Mallet-Stevens for the art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles between 1923 and 1927. Before their marriage in 1923 they were friends of artist-film maker Jean Cocteau and Charles Noailles commissioned Pablo Picasso to paint a portrait of his wife. They financially supported many art projects by Ray, Dali and Bunel. The house is located in the hills above Hyeres in the Var, southeastern France and was purchased by the city. It is now used as an art centre.

The photograph in this exhibition is of the entrance hall of Villa Noailles by Roseanne Lynch who uses a large format camera using 5” and 4” film. Architectural photographers use this camera as the lens plane and film plane move independently therefore controlling perspective and focus. The photograms are created in the dark room with a hand held light and small squares of translucent and light sensitive paper leant against each other to form structures. The resulting image is of the trace or shadow of the objects on the paper. They are not printed images as in effect they are printing themselves making them unique. This is a vulnerable working method as the structures are fragile and often collapse during exposure making failure a part of the process.

A chashitsu ( tea room ) is an architectural space used for the chanoyu ( tea ceremony ). The typical features of the chashitsu are shoji which is either a door, window or room divider consisting of translucent paper over a frame of wood, tatami the floor coverings which are made in standard sizes, the length being twice the width, which dictate the size of the room and a tokonomo which is an alcove for displaying an art object. The ideal free standing tea house is surrounded by a small garden roji ( dewy ground ) with a path leading to it. There is a stone water basin near to the tea house where guests can wash hands and mouths before entering through the nijiriguchi ( crawling-in entrance ) a small door which requires bending low to pass through. This is a symbolic separation from the overwhelming outside world into the small, simple and quiet space.

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