Photographer Charlotte Colbert is known for being one half of London’s quirkiest, chirpiest couple. Along with her husband, artist Philip Colbert, she has pioneered a modern take on pop-art irreverence. They can be seen all around town in his wacky clothes, featuring bright motifs of lobsters and Snoopy.
So it was something of a surprise to see her dressed head-to-toe in sombre black for the opening of her ‘Ordinary Madness’ exhibition at Gazelli Art House. The photographs on show capture an eery, unsettling and fantastical world where children’s pastimes, emojis and sex games all come into play.
Guests at the party, including Isabel Douglas-Hamilton, Tiger Chadwick and Margo Stilley, reminisced about their own childhood habits. Flora Ogilvy revealed that she cut the hair off her barbies as a sprog. ‘My favourite soft toy was a pink rabbit from the Shetlands. I loved it so much I’ve now bought one for all my friends’ kids,’ she said.
So where did the normally frolicsome Colbert get the idea for such a dark show? ‘The entire project was inspired by a friends’ two year old. A butterfly landed on the window and she tried to zoom in on it, like it was an iPad image,’ she told Miss Steerpike. ‘We’ve always expected, like, an alien invasion. But it turns out we are becoming the androids.’ As for her favourite emoji: ‘the bewildered, confused character is the one I use most.’