So proud to announce the launch of my collaborative exhibition "Ovidius" with photographer Alberto Maria Colombo. Please visit The Storefront Project gallery, 70 Orchard Street , Lower East Side Manhattan . Running from 1-6pm daily except Mondays. The exhibition will be on from 15 June until 2 July .
Private views available. Also available are stunning Limited addition prints, show book & Jivomir Domoustchiev fashion sculptures.
All three sculptures are created for this event to be exhibited as a pure sculptural expression by Jivomir Domoustchiev. they are made up of mini collections by the designer and as such can be worn .
by COSTANZA CAVALLI
Look at these images, slowly. Run with your eyes through the pages of this book, and in these photographs by Alberto Maria Colombo, you will witness a metamorphosis.
Not a horizontal one, such as a cocoon transforming in order to become its true self, a butterfly, but a vertical one, of human beings searching for their true self, inside and out of their own body and spirit. Metamorphosis has appeared in literature for thousands of years: glimpse of it are found in the works of Homer, Hesiod, Dante, and Ovid.
Today this is the research of the artist, who is substituting the instrument of the myth with the photographic lens.
There is a connection between the exhibit’s twin themes - the nude, and the clothing - with the Greek-Roman myths of Athena and Medusa. Athena, eternal virgin, goddess of warfare, patron of craft, academics, and the arts, born from the head of Zeus, father of the Gods, dressed in her armor. Medusa, a virgin priestess at Athena’s temple, who was turned into a Gorgon by the raging goddess, growing snakes in place of hair, and boar’s teeth, as well as a thick beard.
Both are non-women: deprived of femininity, with their different appear- ances they celebrate the end of the glory of the physical body, and of the illusion of the flesh.
As in every encounter between the subconscious and art, the contrasts between nudity and extreme dressing in Colombo’s photographic work is striking. The combination of these two themes speaks about the shadows and the vital forces which dwell in the myth, in the symbols which the bodies reveal, and which the clothes hide: the appearance of a woman dressed in Domoustchiev’s clothes is a reminder of Athena’s armored suit; her femininity is barely shown and right away neglected by the imposing- ness of her helm and her shell. Likewise, the dress covering the model’s body, almost aggressively, captures one’s gaze, becoming more powerful and prominent than the woman herself.
It is a non-linear metamorphosis: not turning one into someone else, but
an internal metamorphosis, taking one back to oneself, as in a game that never ends. The ever changing shape of the dresses, shifting from one area of the body to another, creates a kind of contortion which recalls the very snakes on the head of Medusa.
Each photograph is like a planet, which, rotating on itself, offers infinite views on the same object; embellished and decorated with non-essential and artificial additions. They show an image of femininity that is hidden and complete at the same time, immortal but mutilated: ‘to just exist’ is the Apollian ideal of beauty, without the need of being beautiful.
The carnal and twisted nudity shown in Colombo’s work is far removed from feminine beauty, and the simple desire for a woman. Their initial rage has changed into a desperate plight to recover their virginity, even though it is a defeated Medusa what we look at, surrendered, giving up the terrible power of its own sight, and its ability to petrify men.
In his images of women Colombo captures only the composition of this creature: the anger is faded into the uneasy hope for an unreachable grace. But their former selves, once violated, cannot be restored: their portraits change in pose, color, message. They are now Gorgons, whose body parts are assembled and reassembled, rendering them unrecognizable: just like Medusa, punished by Athena, they have bronze hands, snakes in place of hair, and golden wings.
These are found nudes, before being looked at and being photographed. Chosen because they represent this drama. A beauty without defined lines which crosses the eyes: as if Athena and Medusa fused together so that the myth of their war could bare the impact of time.
Colombo’s work is then the unfinished, thus always rising, ascension of this union: so to exorcise the decay, the death, the betrayal of sight, the nullity of the aesthetic judgment. These photographs are testimony of omnipotence of the light, the only incorruptible art, which gives shape to all things.