Currently on display within the Black Gallery hall at DixMix Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, is a selection of images by Cecilia Nansen Mode – whom I confess is one of my favourite exponents of the art of avatar studies. Entitled Within the Voice of Björk, the selection features some fifteen images inspired by the lyrics of thirteen songs by Icelandic singer Björk.
“Within the voice of Björk, I hear the roars of a beast of the North … the beast of a woman,” Cecilia says in introducing the exhibit. “Within the voice of Björk, I hear the voice of the little girl … Within the voice of Björk, I hear the finest and most delicate tones … Within the voice of Björk, I hear passion, anger love, hope and fear. The deepest frustration and the highest happiness. The acceptance of depression, the orgasmic explosions of joy.
“I hear a woman; I hear all women; I hear myself.”
It’s a powerful set of statements, encompassing so much, including reflections on the rugged, unpredictable nature of Iceland itself – a country I know well myself. Its seemingly solid, stoic outward appearance: firm and unyielding in the face of the harshness of the North Atlantic hides a turbulent core, hot and unpredictable, prone to busting through that stoic shell – the very metaphor of the moods and passions to which Cecilia alludes.
The images for Within the Voice of Björk are equally as powerful. Set against plain white or black backdrops, using monochrome, soft tints or the minimum of colour, each image has a simple, elegant – dare I say calm framing, within which is set the most evocative, captivating interpretations of mood and feeling, beautifully expressed through the female form.
Beneath each image is a button which, when touched, will display the title of the song which inspired the picture, together with a selected portion of the lyrics. These provide depth and context to each image, allowing us to delve deeper into each in turn – although in all honesty, each image is so exquisitely executed and presented, it speaks loudly and clearly even before one turns to the lyrics.
These are also marvellous examples of the technical art of photography: the considered use of lighting, backdrop, soft focus, depth of field, angle, use of colour, framing. All are used to perfection, the various combinations within each piece doing much to capture and hold one’s attention, drawing one into the moods and feeling expressed within each – the wildness, the passion, love, hope, frustration and joy to which Cecilia refers in her introduction to the exhibition.
Most of the images correspond to a single song; however there are two images devoted to Big Time Sensuality and a triplet of images inspired by All is Full of Love, and I have to confess, this triplet is for me the centre piece for Within the Voice of Björk. While every piece in the exhibit is worthy of appreciation and praise, I found the emotive phrasing of these three images, and the inspired use of android figures to convey those emotions utterly stunning.
This is a truly magnificent collection, and one to be savoured.
- DiXmiX Galley (Bay Port, rated: Moderate)