Arnno Planer is a self-described Second Life “snapoholic”, whose work I first encountered at the 2020 Movember art exhibition organised by JMB Balogh at the Men in Motion gallery. At the time I was struck by the natural arc and look of his avatar studies, so I was pleased to be able to see more of his work thanks to the April 19th, 2022 opening of an exhibition entitled La Ville, La Vie (The City, The Life).
Hosted by Mareea Farrasco as a part of her ever-evolving IMAGOLand cultural facilities (albeit on a separate region), the exhibition is being held with the Suburbs gallery space.
Be that as it may, La Ville, La Vie is located within a pair of hanger-like buildings that sit side-by-side, and presents a genuinely engaging and rich selection of both colour and monochrome male avatar studies. Some sit as what might be regarded as the more “traditional” form of avatar study, either portraiture or as a single framed story; others are more subtle in their message; several skilfully depict what might be regards (at least in places like the UK, America and Canada) “typically” French elements or touches.
Take Burning Man, LacheTon Number, Beyound and Un Seul Coq. all are beautifully composed and framed as might be found in the pages of a high fashion magazine or through a Flickr photo stream covering SL fashion, with Un Seul Coq, offering a little nod-and-wink to us on the role of the model in such photos.
Or take Metagorique and Degaine; two quite marvellous monochrome studies, each richly layered in potential interpretation. Taken in context of city and life, Metagorique might be seen as reminding us that not everything about city life is bustle, business, happiness and fashion; Degaine meanwhile, whilst suggesting the invincibility of youth, is captured in such a way as to evoke classic French cinematography of a bygone era.
And then there is the quite marvellous Rat Race, symbolising the whole clean / dirty nature of city life (the out-of-focus gleaming lights of soaring towers contrasting with litter and detritus of daily city life on which rats and other perceived pests survive sharply defined in the foreground), whilst also personifying the whole mad rush of modern life and consumerism: the tossed-way waste of an empty coffee cup, the bright new trainers and the manner in which one foot is raised as if to crush the rat’s head (a trick of perspective, clearly, but nevertheless a visceral portrayal of many go through life, stepping on those around them in a pointless race to the top).
Wherever you look within this selection of 22 pieces, you will find something that captures the eye and fires the imagination, making La Ville, La Vie an exhibition that should be seen.
- IMAGOLand Suburbs Gallery (Shaker Beach, rated Moderate)