|This exhibition brings together the photographs of four exceptional artists, each working with the representation of the human form. The fabrication of individual male bodies into multi-limbed hybrids, makes Antony Crossfield’s exploration of the male form at once unsettling, yet weirdly beautiful. Phillip Toledano’s highly-crafted images combine up-close physical observations that are imposing, detailed and display a dramatic illumination that is reminiscent of the chiaroscuro technique of Caravaggio.||
“This exhibition brings together the photographs of four exceptional artists, each working with the representation of the human form.”
Antony Crossfield, Foreign Body 3, 2005. Lambda, 48″x50″, Edition of 3 / 26.5″x27.5″, Edition of 7. Courtesy Klompching Gallery
This exhibition brings together the photographs of four exceptional artists, each working with the representation of the human form.
The fabrication of individual male bodies into multi-limbed hybrids, makes Antony Crossfield’s exploration of the male form at once unsettling, yet weirdly beautiful. Phillip Toledano’s highly-crafted images combine up-close physical observations that are imposing, detailed and display a dramatic illumination that is reminiscent of the chiaroscuro technique of Caravaggio. The psychological is played out in the compelling tableau vivants of Cornelia Hediger, whose pictorial narratives explore the conscious/unconscious. And, showing for the first time at the gallery, are the profoundly beautiful nudes made by Carla van de Puttelaar.
Through my art I explore the relationship between the body and identity, while also raising questions regarding the status of photography in a digital age.
I seek to question the basic assumption that the self is distinct from the other, to portray physical identity and psychological identity as unstable and permeable. I present the body not as a protective envelope that defines and unifies our limits, but as an organ of physical and psychological interchange between bodies and selves. Identity is seen not as something necessarily innate, as traditionally conceived, but rather as the product of boundaries in doubt. I hope to highlight how our experience of the body is mediated by our continual interactions with other human and non-human bodies. To suggest that the body is no longer the space that secures the idea of self, but rather it is the domain where the self is contested and called into question….
I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves. Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?
Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon’s hand? Can we identify physical trends that vary from decade to decade, or is beauty timeless? When we re-make ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity?
Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?
Fear, hope, joy, despair, and destruction are some of the emotions I explore photographically. In this series, Doppelgänger, my persona is the central figure, performing a psychological struggle with my own Doppelgänger—a ghostly double of a living person, widely understood as sinister and a harbinger of bad luck.
Cornelia Hediger, 02.15.08 from the Doppelgänger series, 2008. C-Type, 17″x17″, Edition of 15. Courtesy Klompching Gallery
Each image is constructed from six to nine photographs, in which a pictorial narrative is carefully choreographed in a single image. Throughout this series, the characters face each other, watch each other, exploring an internal dialog and struggle which exists between the conscious and the unconscious. The topics, often complex, are captured in rich and lush colors using flower patterns and polka dots, which allow a level of dry humor to take over.
In my photographic work I want to emphasize personality, vulnerability and intimate eroticism, as well as distance and, sometimes, alienation. My nudes draw heavily on the use of close up effects and the use – or deliberate non-use – of focus. Moles can be seen clearly, as well as more temporal marks such as bruises or the imprint of underwear on the skin. They enhance the intimacy of the picture, loading it with tension. Distance is being created first and foremost by the use of color. Often, the skin will have a porcelain hue, delicate, fragile. Color also helps to create a sculptural feel, elaborated by the light and framing of the compositions. My photos relate to the myth of Galatea, the story of the sculptor Pygmalion who carefully crafts his ideal woman in marble and then falls in love with her. The goddess Aphrodite grants his wish to make her a real woman and the marble skin comes to life.
–Carla Van De Puttelaar