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Siren Deluxe: An Exercise in Futility

When:

Tue 17 Jan 2012, 10:00am–4:00pm
Wed 18 Jan 2012, 10:00am–4:00pm
Thu 19 Jan 2012, 10:00am–4:00pm
Fri 20 Jan 2012, 10:00am–4:00pm
Sat 21 Jan 2012, 10:00am–4:00pm

Where: Photospace, Level 1, 37 Courtenay Place, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: James Gilberd

Momento Mori for the Atheist - godless contemplations on mortality
by Siren Deluxe

Over the last decade Siren Deluxe's photography has gained national attention due to controversial nudity and what she coined 'cerebral feminist erotica'. But things seem to have changed since she was awarded a short artist's residency and an internship at The Museum of Sex in New York in 2008. She returned to make large scale studio photography which was first exhibited as a show called New Zealand Bound. Her current practise has built upon the success of this show, and for the first time ever we see her imagery vacant of the human form. The brazenly frank nudity Deluxe is known for may have gone, but the trademark unease of her images remains. Death is present in this new work, and so of course is sex, but in symbolic rather than fleshy form.

Deluxe's new exhibition work, 'An Exercise in Futility' draws inspiration Dutch memento mori and vanitas paintings of the 17th century. The themes of loss and materialism, suffering and disillusionment, are portrayed in large scale glossy photographs with inky black backgrounds. The objects seem hyper-real, taking on the other-worldly profundity of the wilted flower head or decaying peach of the vanitas painting. Traditional memento mori elements are mimicked in her photographs, such as the human skull, but new symbols for a new age are introduced: a pill container, an unsanitary bar of dried-out soap which the artist wryly says serves to remind her 'that cleanliness is next to godliness'. This body of work is darkly beautiful and alluring. The mix of beauty and despair proves strangely intoxicating.

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