Currently open at Nitroglobus Hall, curated by Dido Haas, is Postcards from the Subconscious, a series of 15 images by Maloe Vansant and Burk Bode. Offered in the familiar large format seen at Nitroglobus, the pictures have a distinctly dark edge to them, which is not entirely what the artists intended.
“This exhibition is like a child. It was planned friendly and glamorous,” Maloe and Burk say of the works on display. “But as always our unconsciousness send us postcards. Feelings like bubbles coming up that told us we had to make just this picture and no other.”
The result is a series of images which, if not the stuff of nightmares, are certainly the kind thing which might creep into our dreams at three o’clock in the morning to poke at us as we sleep. At the same time, some of them provoke an entirely different response.
Take, for example, Ha Ha Said the Clown and The Dolls, both by Burk Bode. Here we have the embodiment of the hidden menace some of us see within a clown’s make-up, or the suggestion of possession contained within some gaudily painted dolls. At the same time, and while their titles might carry a hint of darkness, we have Maloe’s Crooked and Who’s That Voice Inside My Head? Two pieces which seem to present a more contemplative frame of mood, largely free of menace, prompting a similar response in the eyes of their beholder.
All of this adds up to a fascinating exhibit, even if the artists feel it’s not entirely what they originally had in mind. “At the end our child is not what we planned it to be,” they note. “It became somebody dark and nasty. Looking at us like a misbehaving child and telling us: ‘I don’t like you’.”
Be that as it may, it is hard for parents not to love their children, however they turn out, as Burk and Maloe admit in their introduction to the exhibition. It’s also very hard not to be captivated and drawn into these images, Dark might be the subject matter, but the artistry is beautifully evocative and marvellously executed. Open through until June.
- Nitroglobus Hall (Rated: Moderate)