Tuesday, September 1st saw the opening of the September 2020 exhibition at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas. Extreme is a joint exhibition by Poupée Anna-Nana (IMaestra) and Nathaniel Jehangir, who are apparently making their first joint foray into exhibiting their photography through the medium of an in-world gallery.
Both artists focus on avatar photography, although Nathaniel also produces landscape images as well. For Extreme, the pair between them present 14 images supported by sculptures by Igor Ballyhoo and the late Nitro Fireguard, bot of which have been selected by Dido for the way they reflect the central theme of the exhibit.
Each of us has deep-rooted extreme feelings, often based in traumatic experience, that can be hard to control. We often aren’t even aware of these feelings. Sometimes these feelings make us move around in circles, influencing our relationships with others and our own self-awareness. It’s only through self-awareness that we are able to see and free ourselves from these feelings, that we can step out of the ‘circle’. We present these extreme feelings here in our images, each of us in our own way. We are two distinct artists, two different views and ways of interpreting the same themes.
– statement by the artists
Presented as a mix of monochrome colour images, the pictures are offered without further explanation other than their titles, the artists noting that they would prefer those witnessing the pieces to interpret them for themselves.
At first, it can perhaps be hard seeing the extremes of experience within some of these pieces. This is not to say they are without emotion or narrative; rather the reverse, in fact, both narrative and emotion are clearly visible in all of the pieces – but within some of them, it may initially appear both narrative and emotion is more rooted in perennial questions related to our digital lives – identity (What’s Left and Mask for example), and whether or not we can find love and companionship (Love Me, Be Mine), for example. Others, such as The Frame, The Whisper, the Kill may initially suggest stories of introversion more than anything else; even those that touch the fringes of what society might regard as “extreme” (notably Don’t Mess With Me) may not immediately speak of trauma.
But flip your viewpoint with a second look, and look upon these pieces not as the result of past trauma, but rather the propose of trauma about to be visited upon the subject or those they are about to encounter, and a new narrative is revealed. This is perhaps most evident in Don’t Miss With Me, with its threat of open violence directed towards the observer, and the hint of trauma that may come from it. Then, within Monsters, the scratches over breasts and the banding about wrist suggest the observer is being cast into the role of the traumatiser, while The Kill similarly switches to reveal a man who is about to visit trauma on an unseen third party.
Thus, throughout this exhibition, we’re presented with a nuanced series of images, and kudos to the artists for not trying to overlay our reactions to their work by offering their own expositions.
- Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (Sunshine Homestead, rated: Moderate)