Theatre Series (Scenes 1 – 7)
Partially unfixed photographs 109 x 143cm
Multi-grade photo paper on board
Referencing the structure of Decadent literature where a book breaks down (decays) into individual parts, eg. chapters and paragraphs not flowing like a story but become independent, the ‘Theatre Series’ portrays a number of imagined scenarios. The characters represent individual parts of one self, broken down to act independently, helping, fighting and influencing each other. These moments of thought or contemplation pictured soon fade away leaving only a faint impression on the stage.
A central persona both in ‘fin de siecle’ Decadence and my work is that of the ‘Dandy’. The desire to remain young and beautiful leads the dandy to an avoidance of reality and time. I have related this to photography, where the photograph is supposed to magically capture an image and preserve it, however it ultimately fails by fading and aging like its subject.
Dandical efforts to stop the passage of time, to stop aging. turning away from nature and reality to become something else, an object to be looked at and admired, to lose a dimension and emerge pictorial, flat and unchanging.
“Posed, motionless, trying to compose an expression that best represents our innermost selves, we are photographed.” Barthes refers to this moment as a kind of little death, feeling himself change to a visual object, his spectre captured on the film. But what Barthes refers to as ‘photo death’ is the mortality of photographs themselves.
The Dandy’s pretense to be an object, unaffected by time and nature ultimately fails. As age scars, make-up and clothes cannot hide the decay
taking place beneath forever.