Monday, May 18, 2009

A dark narrative

Wow...the first time I saw the work of Joel Peter-Witkin, I thought, this is not a good dream, but I have always been fascinated by the underbelly of society, those dark bits...this is the world he often inflicts on his viewers...What struck me most about the photographs were the details in the narrative, like those Renaissance portraits and scenes, heavily symbolic. These take that context and place it into the side-show, horror context. This piece, "Leda," was very evocative and compelling and at the same time, hard to captures a point in time, an incident that has occurred and the spaces between the symbols and the pieces of the narrative are vast enough to create space for interpretation and connections...the image is the total package: the photograph is dirty, dingy and damaged by age, as if in a time long ago - re-enforcing the "freak show" context, the images are also hard to swallow, dark and twisted - the figure is juxtaposed, so elegantly next to the magnificent swan and the baby fallen angels could allude to something large and evil occurring...The distribution of values is balanced and perfect, you cannot help but look, but as you delve deeper you feel guilty and morose...the story is within our grasp, but we are so afraid to creep and gather up its conclusions...

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