VTO welcomes Rick Buckley, k r buxey, John Isaacs, Eva Karapanou, Jo Mitchell and Rebecca Stevenson in 'entranced', a group exhibition presenting video, photography, sculpture and drawings focussed onthe human body / nature. It is a blending of representations of sexual desire, fetishism, identity, alienation, mental mechanisms and decay. While in advertising, images of body parts serve as templates of physical perfection, the body fragments of 'entranced' are neither ideal nor pretty. Oscillating between the desirable and the fearful, the powerful and the vulnerable, the works of this show open up complex personal, cultural and sociological dialogues.
They picture vividly the critical battle/ balance between body and mind and strengthen the interplay between seeing and thinking. 'Entranced' is as explicit as the truths of the body, both attractive and repulsive. It encourages a metaphysical approach rather than a voyeuristic one, despite the sexual content of some of its imagery. It flirts with mortality and laughs at itself. Moving round this exhibition, one listens to a requiem which, at times, 'clashes' sharply with a hysterical laughter. This orchestration grips the visitors' heart and by attacking their sensibilities it challenges their ideas. 'All our ideas are ideas of our own bodies', said the 17th century philosopher Spinoza.
Rick Buckley's 'progress / regress' is an image of a guffawing mouth depicted within the oval form of the video projection. Due to its slow motion effect the laughter emitting is one of a menacing nature. Over several minutes the laughter accelerates onwards in a progressive and rapid mantra, until reaching a state of hysteria. At this point the video sequence slips into reverse, wherein the laughter is sucked back into its place of origin.The acceleration of laughter as metaphor for mental lifespan that reaches its pinnacle of intellectual/creative openness, before regressing into a derelict state of rigidity. As an evolutionary hypothesis, humour is a temporary disabling mechanism, in which the laughter disrupts the status quo.
k r buxey's most recent video, Requiem, concludes a series of works which look specifically at the representation of ecstatic and climactic moments, and through which the artist articulates an alternative representation of sexual pleasure distinct from the representations of pornography. Simultaneously 'authentic' and 'performative', the artist pays homage to both Warhol's Blow job and Bernini's St.Therese. Invoking simultaneously le petit mort and the Passion of Christ through the use of the whole of Faure's Requiem, fittingly, unlike other Requiem's, Faure's ends 'in paradisum'.
John Isaacs shows the apocalyptic"Self portrait of an uninhabited city". It is a sculpture of life cast body parts assembled to represent a model metropolis, a society in decay. Raw and evocative, it expresses a breakdown of society in a surrealistic way. The anxiety of this work is reflected in another form of self portraiture. His recent photograph, "Thinking about it", reveals the naked artist, in a domestic enviroment, lost in a moment of contemplation or self doubt. Utilizing a prosthetic sculpture, Isaacs has played the male myth beyond the point of ridicule to that of an absurd affliction.
Eva Karapanou photographs and scans her feet and hands. Delighting in the effects resulting from odd angles and lighting, she considers these pictures intimate 'self portraits'. Magically associated with her character and psyche, they express her fears and irrationalities, her emotional and physical anxieties. Blurry and intense, seductive and disturbing, these images stress her feeling of 'alienation' with the body she is in. The almost dreamlike transformations of her fingers and toes are the serene reflections of the favourite play of her babyhood, when through self observation and absorbtion she penetrated life.
Jo Mitchell's photographs 'Flirt' and 'Bitch' depict semi-clothed sections of the female body rich with accessories such as belts, tattoos and nails which, as fetishized elements, offer an insight into the nature of identity and the power of ad/dress in the construction of the individual ID. Heavily cropped, these images offer a vision of surfaces and transferable signs. Club culture is also referenced in these photographs, as though they were snapshots of ritualistic pose and display, although their apparent literalness belies their intricate construction and staging.
Rebecca Stevenson shows 'inflamed', a limb-less prone torso made of layers of coloured wax. Overloaded with forms that resemble corals or flowers, this erupted body / object is the result of the painstaking dissection the artist performed on her sculpture. Working from the surface down, Stevenson seeks to expose the emotions and beliefs that affect how we approach the body's forbidden landscapes ranging from fear and disgust to fascination and desire. It is a web of sensations and meanings as densely interwoven as the tissues of the body itself.
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