We Have no Option but to Love All
Sentiment - digital, multi-faceted portraits, simultaneously hiding and emerging from layers of bold color - speaks of what it is like to be forced to learn the mechanism of vanishing under the pressure of large public forces and private action, and yet, to hold on to one's own sense of authority; it speaks of the current societal shift in re-defining gender identity and the possibility of finding love that feels inclusive, fulfilling and free of loaded expectations.Tethered but by no means static, each duo provides a sense of implied vulnerability; however, the image is left to be interpreted by the viewer who is both the hunter (of the artist's intentions) and the hunt (lost in color and texture). The creative process starts with the creation of complex paper collages made of photographs of Xheka's previous art pieces and various self-portrait photographs. These paper collages serve as the first layer of the final image which goes through multiple digital manipulations to finalize the artist's intention to be both a storyteller and a character skilled in making use of an array of art techniques starting from the art of cave paintings (sandy, rough texture and clear, well-defined outlines) to the reds of Ancient Egypt (symbolizing danger) to Old Master paintings created during the Dutch Golden Age and the Italian Renaissance offering dynamic compositions that rely on dark colors to accentuate the light to Fauvism's focus on complementary colors to Pop Art's trademark unblended color fields separated by thick black lines.Seeped in bejeweled colors and counting on pixels to mimic rough texture, each silhouette looks as if it has been assembled from standardized parts in an effort to catch a glimpse of the divergent structure of self-identification visible behind the stitched up gaping cuts that serve as a visual reminder of the exposed and defenseless state of gender representation. In other words, the work is an invitation for ongoing conversation on the tension between defiant hope and sober realism with its ultimate horizon of a body without fear rather than bland assent on how the body is kept compliant by internalized prejudices and external forces especially when it comes to the often subtle and coded role of images in creating new knowledge.
- Visual Influences
Kim Leutwyler - Known for her colorful paintings, the artists reflects on androgyny, body art, gender confirmations, etc. Many of her subjects are close friends, pictured against bold patterns in a celebration of diversity.
Kim Jae Jun - Jun's surreal paintings, inspired by K-pop culture and digital worlds, reflect on the Internet era, contemporary culture and taboos.