The Home Hairdresser, Wakefield

Emma Cousin paintings

Holding her hair over the sink, the water runs red; it trickles down her temple. It gets on lunch’s dirty plates.

The towels are black, the floor beige.

Don’t touch your head, you’ll get pink fingers!

Put these gloves on, and just comb it out whilst I finish off Emma’s fringe.

It splashes.

Hair fragments flit about and fall on the sheepskin rug. They mix up with the unseen dust and skin and cat hair. They cling to the clothes, and to the tassels of the cushion that rests underneath the bum. Catching the last light of the day in the living room; silvery, shiny-black, sharp and short slices of hair glisten on the floor. They begin to pile and clump. Make her itch.

The makeshift bin bag wrapped around the shoulders doesn’t help the mess (she forgot her cloak). Nor does the hairdryer; it simply enhances the dispersion of the fragments, allowing them to settle in the cracks and creases of the perfect room.

She does a quick vacuum. Afterwards she cautiously takes down the heavy, cherub-embellished mirror from above the mantelpiece. Holding it at almost the right angle, the girls respectively inspect the back of their heads.

That’s great, oo it looks great. Thanks!

I absolutely luv my colour. Thank you.


Image credits (left to right):
Emma Cousin, Hands
Emma Cousin, Cross Contamination

Part of The Learned Pig’s Clean Unclean editorial season, March-May 2015.

The Learned Pig

Eleanor Davies

Eleanor is an artist, researcher and curator based in London. She graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College in 2012, and has since continued her practice working on a range of projects for Camden Arts Centre, Selfridges department store and the Lewisham Local History Society’s archive. She has also conducted research for Glenn Adamson at the V & A Museum, exploring the notion of 'Softness' in American art from the 1960s onwards, and methods of production in contemporary art practices. Research formed the basis of an essay in the forthcoming Thames & Hudson publication Contemporary Art in the Making.