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Open now at Dathúil Gallery, curated and operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd), is Me_You, the first in a two-part exhibition by Moon Edenbaum and Hillany Scofield.
The focus of the two exhibitions is the relationship between a man and woman, whose story arc runs from initial meeting through getting to know one another and intimacy, to separation. In this part of the exhibition, Moon Edenbaum presents his / the man’s perspective on the relationship through 13 large format pieces.
These broadly encapsulate the core elements of the story, some with obvious clarity, others are more subtle in their approach, suggesting, rather than informing. Take the two images against the ground floor wall to the left of the gallery entrance, for example. These clearly portray an early meeting between the couple towards the start of their affair. However, the image placed in front of them offers a beautifully subtle view of their eventual separation, the cropping that cuts through her face and the complete obscuring of his speaking to them being a couple unknown to one another.
To me, what is interesting in this entire tableau is the use of language within the narrative and how the is reflected in the images. Nowhere is it stated the couple actually fall in love, rather “they become lovers”. The distinction here is important, suggesting as it does their relationship is born of little more than a physical attraction. Hence, perhaps, why the more intimate moments between them are shown purely in sexual terms.
On the one hand, this lifts the images to an almost tragic level: the unfolding story of a relationship doomed from the outset, the players within it unable to avoid their eventual fate of separation. But on the other, it brings forth questions of perception within the relationship. This is, after all, the relationship seen through the male eyes; so could they indicate an unwillingness on his part to engage beyond the physical? But what of the image of her with another woman? Might this indicate that it is she – regardless of who suggested / initiated the encounter – who is less engaged as he, and this scene has served to open his eyes to this fact?
Depending on how one views things, this particular image lifts the lid on a plethora of questions which range well beyond the simple narrative given as the exposition of the exhibit. It feeds directly into how we might interpret some of the other images in the set. For example: those of her in a white jumper, apparently trying to once again attract his attention. Are they because she earnestly wants to recover whatever intimacy they once had in the hope of taking it deeper? Or is it an attempt to overcome the growing gulf between them for what he sees as her “betrayal”?
It will be interesting to see how the lines of thinking play out when Hillany presents her take on the relationship. This will be in June, with Moon’s interpretation of the story remaining on show through until the end of May.