Melbourne: Mirror Mirror
Showcasing the work of ten Melbourne-based photographic artists, Mirror Mirror explores the notion of contemporary self-portraiture in society with themes drawing from politics, fantasy and ideas of identity, both cultural and sexual. The works are designed to push boundaries, raise questions and create new conversations about age-old topics of gender equality, conservatism, authority and religion.
Curator Linsey Gosper says, “The images in this exhibition are less about the individual and more about our collective concerns. What becomes apparent is the importance of the performative body to self-portraiture. As a vehicle of appropriation and transgression the ‘performance’ of the body lets us play out our desires and take on the power of that which is performed”.
The artists in this exhibition - Hoda Afshar, Garrett Hughes, David-Ashley Kerr, Diane Mantzaris, Kobie Nel, Farrell and Parkin, Drew Pettifer, Linsey Gosper and Jack Sargeant, Jacqui Stockdale and Hannah Raisin – use a range of creative precepts to create their individual interpretations of self.
Fountain of Eve by Diane Mantzaris stands at over seven feet. Mantzaris says, “With Eve, the apple is understood as a metaphor for breaking the law. Combined with the act of urination it stands for transgression, a defiant protest of the individual against injustice, and power over adversity. Fountain of Eve has been constructed in a Frankenstein-like way from a variety of sources - I have a collection of limbs. In a male dominated art world that often draws on women’s bodies…I wanted to create an image whereby the protest itself becomes an act of seduction and is also beautiful. Eve is meant to be seen as an image of power over adversity”.
Hoda Afshar’s Untitled is a digitally manipulated image that questions the “contemporary Western dominated art world for its characterization of women of Muslim background as a singular monolithic subject or an identical group of victims uncomplicated by the heterogeneity”.
Drew Pettifer’s art explores “themes of intimacy, sexuality, desire, gender and the gaze. This work Untitled (Holding Been) comes from the series Hand in Glove, which explores the relationship between desire, intimacy and vulnerability. Shot in the subjects’ bedrooms, there is an implied surrender on behalf of the subjects, a willing vulnerability, in this act of colonisation and control”.
Snow Bunny, Jacqui Stockdale’s contribution to Mirror Mirror, “combines two powerful forces of nature; a mountain covered in snow and a woman incubating a new life. The bunny mask adds a playful touch transforming the subject into a part human, part animal character that has become a major area of exploration with my art practice,” says Stockdale. “My history of making self-portraits is explored equally within my photographs, paintings and drawings, where being my own subject, I am free to become whomever I desire, and where I mark a poignant time in my own history”.
Bodily actions and how they relate to objects and the surrounding environment are key components of Hannah Raisin’s practice. “These interactions become a point at which to examine and sometimes interrupt certain cultural ideals. My concerns relate to the forms and functions of the body as a way to explore and subvert these entrenched and sometimes restrictive social codes. I am particularly interested in actions of trans-species appropriation, where one figure can take on or desire the characteristics and behaviours of another”.
Farrell and Parkin’s self portrait emerged after their exploration of acupuncture. “Chinese medicine works through balancing and strengthening the whole body using gentle therapies. To reflect on this, the artists are set in an airy landscape playing on the idea of Aristotle’s theories that linked man’s body to the cosmos in perfect harmony – the human body being the microcosm in balance with nature representing the macrocosm - blood/water, organs/earth, digestion/fire and mind/air”.
Mirror Mirror: Contemporary Photographic Self-Portraiture
8th February to 2nd March, 2013
Colour Factory Gallery
409-429 Gore Street