TWINGING

A collaborative project between Lorraine Corker and Lorretta Gibbs

Infancy – detail from drawing

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

From time to time Lorretta and I have discussed the possibility of creating an art project based on our twin perspective. Although we have collaborated in performances in the past, none of them were specifically based on being a twin. Nevertheless, they did use our likenesses and more importantly our differences to play with peoples preconceived ideas and visual perception. However, none of them actually revealed how we perceived the world and how the world perceived us as twins.

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 transPose – painting performance at Kurb Gallery

It is only now that we feel ready to share the intimacy of our private world. We have already completed two studio sessions in which we tested some of our ideas and began to establish our work practice. We are very excited about what we have produced so far. We believe this project has the potential not only to become an informative and fascinating journey but also a visual feast.

From our first studio session.

BACKGROUND

Just for the record – yes, we are identical twins. In other words; we were both created from one egg, fertilized by one sperm, which at some point in its development split into two unique beings. This makes us genetically identical. However, because of the way we split we are also mirror twins which means, unlike other identical twins we are mirror opposites. In other words, when we look at each other it is like seeing a reflection of ourselves. And like all mirror twins one of us is left-handed and the other right.

From our second studio session.

THE EARLY YEARS

We not only shared the same genetics, but in our formative years we also shared the same environment, the same relationships and the same influences.  We even shared the same name – Twinnie. Unlike modern day twins we were never separated or allowed to make individual decisions. Although we often had different ideas, our choices were more often than not limited by adults interceding to ensure that we both did the same thing. This was usually resolved by them referring to the oldest. We don’t think for one moment that this was malicious but borne on a misconceived idea that our connection was inseparable and therefore we needed to remain physically connected. But in fact our connection (like many twins), went beyond the physical. And we would have been able to withstand separation as we were later to discover when we decided to go our separate ways.

Lorraine and Lorretta about seven years old.

REALIZATION

Privately we enjoyed the intimacy of our relationship but we found it increasingly difficult to cope with public attention. People were fascinated by our likeness and we were always being asked to ‘perform’ our twinness for them. This continued despite all efforts to resist it. Very few people acknowledged us as individuals, and those that did usually accomplished it by rejecting one of us. Then one day something happened that changed our lives forever…

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Drawn from memory

We saw two old ladies who we immediately recognised as mirror twins too. They were walking towards us in slow measured steps. Step by step in sync with each other. Every foot fall, every arm swing in mirrored unison. Each holding an identical bag with one hand and twin hand in the other. They were both wearing the same hat, the same coat and the same shoes. We watched in horror as they approached us. They had grown old trapped forever in their identical twin world. We knew then, that whatever it took we had to escape the same fate. From that moment on we refused to wear the same clothes at the same time. We started wearing our hair differently and making decisions that suited our individual needs. And for fifty years we have managed to maintain that without denying our own special bond. We have just kept it private, until now.

THIS PROJECT

As I said at the beginning we believe this project has the potential not only to become an informative and fascinating journey but also a visual feast. We will be exploring visual means in which to give you some insights into our world. It will be thought-provoking, it will be fascinating. It will be a journey of discovery for us and for you.

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NB: We see many possibilities for this project but at the present time we do not have any outcomes in mind. Other than to begin this journey together with a sense of adventure. It might be, as this project progresses that any one of us might feel we cannot continue. We are committed not to put pressure on each other to continue if anyone changes their mind and respect each others feelings in this matter.

© artwork by Lorraine Corker & Lorretta Gibbs : all rights reserved
photographs by Lorraine Corker, Helen Butcher & Jerome’s Ltd UK

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