Why did the artist choose Marie Claire? Today’s magazine bids you to ‘Think Smart, Look Amazing’. To help you get there, it offers News, Fashion, Hair and Beauty, Celebrity, Lifestyle, Health, Travel and much more, such as ‘a peek at our top picks from Cheryl Cole’s new stylistic shoe collection’. One possible reading of Bond is that, like Damien Hirst’s butterflies and sharks currently on show in Tate Modern, the viewer is invited to reflect on the transience of life, even our own mortality.
I can’t guess who this beautiful woman is nor do I know why she has a such a rapt and intense expression while sewing. What I do know is that the enigma is intensified by the delicate pearl-like thread which encircles her head. It summons up a number of responses. The cartoonist drawing Desperate Dan in a comic of that name would use lines like this to signify a blow to the head or shock or surprise – from which he would surely scramble up unscathed. Or, someone who through spite or jealousy was intent on spoiling a photograph, might scribble just these lines. Or perhaps the beauty of the thread and of the woman suggests a halo? Perhaps it's an annunciation scene? The artist has succeeded in turning a humble, repetitive though creative task into an enigma posing an intellectural and political challenge.
I enjoy the freshness, thoughtfulness and provocation of Cockburn’s work. As I walk away I reflect that most of us don’t know what to do with photographs. They used to be stored in albums and were largely untitled and unseen. Later came a host of slides – bursting with colour and vitality - but only coming to life with the help of projector. Now photographs languish inside some electronic device or other, competing with trillions of others for an airing.
It’s artists like Cockburn who make the familiar strange - and maybe give a stamp of approval to our own creativity?