NIGHT SWIM 2019
What if Bernini's unleashed figures came onto the current art world scene? What if Bernini's project was flipped?
Sirens, in the series Night Swim, is a group of underwater stills that are a visceral, passionate, an ecstatic series of emphatically Baroque and allegorical bodies shot in deep water. In the sense that Benjamin used fragmented quotes and images for a larger project, on gravity, sculpture, ecstacy and skin these shots convolute an act of cinematic performance that I imagine are forming a larger project. Still moving... Intimate, almost claustrophobic, in a dark interior world these investigations are a concentration in wet encounters. A Tiepolo affect, the figures create a commotion of floating bodies, anticipating cinematic stop motion. Water becomes a filter in light and color, a diaphanous escape from the limits of gravity that illuminates an immediate response before the urge to breathe. Subterranean sexual desire, metaphysics, intimacy and even fears around death and dying... thoughts that spiral into obsession.
In Apollo and Daphne, the moment he catches up with her she begins to transform into a tree, her toes forming into roots, the perfect subject for Bernini. These great master influences and a contemporary fluid-sexo-body tension between the presence of figures in space and groups of figures interacting with each other, reveal a pictoral approach. I grew up swimming in pools as a kid. I am freer in water than in air. The (unbearable) lightness of being, to take an idea from Milan Kundera, is a state I strive for given the terrible political climate that dominates everyone's consciousness. To escape the current of the earth and my earthly being and become only half real is a relief. The paradise garden still lives in my imagination. The darkness collapses, and a playful flow takes over and slippery seductions begin.
I looked at Shunga, literally "spring pictures", an erotic artistic tradition of Ukiyo-e, "pictures of the floating world", during the Edo period (1600-1868). Shunga offered sexuality a shameless visual platform, where sexual pleasure, female sexuality, and homosexuality were not only acknowledged but encouraged. The earliest watery images filled with larger than life sea creatures and mermaids establish a presence that is dreamy.