Cathy de Monchaux, The Day Before You Looked Through Me, 1998

Cathy de Monchaux
They Day Before You Looked Through Me, 1998

Cullercoats Metro Station, Tyne & Wear

Large-scale permanent photo-work

The Day Before You Looked Through Me is de Monchaux's first permanent public artwork, incorporating the use of photography on a monumental scale. A digitally manipulated image, 3.8m high x 6.2m wide, it shows a deserted railway station after an important ceremony. An abandoned red carpet on the platform, folded by the winds and sodden from the rain, spirals onto the tracks; the lights of a train can just be seen, arriving over the horizon. The stark, melancholic image retains the emotive and cerebral potency of de Monchaux's sculpture. We are reminded that the activity of travel involves expectation, disappointment and celebration. Reflective perspex placed over
the image reflects the viewers' gaze, who can see themselves inserted into the tableaux, stood on a red carpet, awaiting a journey of their own

"You're rushing to get your train, always late, half asleep, wishing you
were somewhere else. In the station a photograph has appeared. It fills the whole wall. The image is of some foreign train station. The perspective of the tracks draws you in against your will. You can't quite focus on the blurred image. Moving closer, the surface reflects you walking into the scene. Maybe taking you off on an imaginary alternative journey. It was the day before you looked through me. A busy Saturday in a Parisian station. I had no train to catch, no people to meet. Aimlessly wandering in dream time, feeling as inconsequential as a ghost. On the platform lay a red carpet, a great slice of red, an illusion for the sensitivity of a footstep deemed to be special.
In the distance, the end of the carpet railed pathetically onto the tracks,
obstructing the path of the arriving train. I had a sense of impending
carnage. Everybody disappeared, leaving me with this scene, as unbelievable as a dream. Anything was possible, in the optimism of the day before you looked through me."

Related Information

Cathy de Monchaux
Project Title:
The Day Before You Looked Through Me