Louise Hopkins makes her work on pre-printed surfaces, through trace and erasure she interacts with the original print (image/text/pattern) in order to remake it (Bradley, 2005, p. 15). Her intervention supplants or obliterates and reclaims the surface. It is a subtle colonisation, what was there is still there, masked, or slightly visible, reversed and repainted, but still inevitably present, even where its presence is only implied through erasure.
In fact, it could be argued that greater emphasis is placed on the presence of the original as the attempts to obliterate it only serve to draw more attention to its absence. The works are indeed haunted by their previous lives, and it is this halfway point between existence and oblivion, and the negotiated meaning created by the intervention that gives them true power as images.
The paradox of the work is that it is in the modification and translation that the original purpose is reevaluated: it is through it’s partial absence, and the labour of carefully retracing or erasing, that its humble previous existence is reconsidered. Paradoxical too that in some instances each act of erasure involves carefully retracing each of the elements, as in Songsheet 3 (ii) you’re nobody ’til somebody loves you (1997), and 2/3 (1996).
Other works seem to speak of giving a new life, or a second chance, such as Untitled (476) (2003) the reformed graph paper and Untitled (452) (2003) the altered comic strip. These papers have been set free by the deletion (Bradley, 2005, p. 19), and yet their past is still there, masked beneath, a subterranean narrative held captive between the layers.