Now open at Artful Expressions, curated by Sorcha Tyles, is United States of Mind, the second solo exhibition of photography by Jes Mode (J3sus Mode). It features a total of eight studies, each focused on a specific state of mind / feeling / emotion.
Presented in muted tones, and a step away from Jes’ more usual use of black-and-white, these are considered, artful and provocative takes on their subject matter, using both Jes and his in-world partner and fellow artist, Cecilia Mode (Cecilia Nansen) as models.
Each piece takes its title from the state of mind / feeling being presented: apathy, breakdown, fear, hedonism, insomnia, nihilism, schizophrenia, and vanity, and is accompanied by notes from the artist to give further expression to the piece.
For some of the art, the subject matter is presented in what may appear to be a relatively straightforward manner: there is little doubting Schizophrenia, for example, with its figure bound within a straitjacket shaking his had so rapidly we literally see he is in two minds, while Breakdown offers a physical manifestation of collapse. Others are more nuanced in presentation, such as Hedonism, with not only its menage-a-tois, but also its more subtle hints at pleasure. Others appear to run slightly contrary to their title, or at least bind it with other outlooks / philosophical standpoints; Nihilism, for example, when taken with its accompanying text perhaps also suggests vanity and solipsism through the emphasis of self.
Be this as it may, all deserve careful study, because they are perhaps more layered than may first appear to be the case – again, note the bottle of wine in Hedonism, the overall setting of Schizophrenia – the image itself perfectly positioned alongside of Fear, offering a visual as well as metaphysical link between the two subjects. Similarly, Apathy offers an evocative presentation in which not only are the two bodies positioned so as to suggest a lack of (sexual) interest in one another – or at least mutual passivity – the blurring of facial features speaks volumes suggestive of a total lack of interest / concern, each towards the other, adding further depth to the sense of apathy within their pose.
In short, these are all marvellous studies, skilfully executed representations of their subject matter, mirror reflections of their accompanying descriptions (consider Vanity and the quote Jes gives from Lou Reed, or the way Insomnia focuses the eye not on the figure, but on the shadow, echoing the idea of a copy of a copy, as quoted in Jes’ notes. All told, a captivating exhibition, and one which should not be missed.
- Artful Expressions Gallery (Niaoupolis, rated: Adult)