Galeria Filomena Soares presents for the first time in Portugal a solo exhibition by the American artist Slater Bradley (1975, San Francisco), entitled Melancholia. The will open September 20th, 9:30 pm, with the presence of the artist. The exhibition will be on display until November 10th, 2012.
In large measure the work that Slater Bradley (1975, San Francisco, USA) has developed since the beginning of his career reflects the conditions of social recognition - collective and individual - through the exacerbation of "I" and/or the figure of the "other". This research has revealed very strong images that pertinently question the place or the responsibility of the artist himself in their society and therefore the place of each one of us towards particular artist or situation. Often, the artist intervenes with paint on iconic images gleaned from contemporary alternative culture references, "pop" culture and 90s. Ian Curtis, Michael Jackson, Kurt Cobain, among others, have served as alter egos for a clear demand for their own identity. By these historical figures in its history, the artist questions their own inherent characteristics in confrontation with the extrinsic community that receives him.
For the exhibition at Galeria Filomena Soares, the artist seems to deviate slightly from their initial assumptions. Public figures have been replaced by the nakedness of the same woman in various sexy and intimate poses. The photographs are subjected to two different actions: first, the photographs are painted with silver marker and, then, they are crumpled. If the first action reveals a latent desire for the image and necessarily by the portrayed, the second action may prove a disappointment or a not achievable will. In this way, and without knowing the story behind, we may be facing one of the most personal and intimate works by the artist. However and despite of reflecting the same assumption, this more introspective perspective, instead of the public, empowers the reflection about identity of each individual, in which the personal events are catalysts of influences of our way of seeing and acting in the near future. And this feeling is called Melancholia.
In direct speech, Slater Bradley writes:
In 1993, Charles Ray created a photographic edition for Parkett entitled "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World." The edition featured sets of 9 4x6in color prints of German supermodel Tatjana Patitz. Ray's subversive act in his "editorial" was to "de- pedestalize" Patitz by shooting her completely relaxed, without makeup, lounging about her home with her dog and a large sunflower nearby, totally at ease. He turned a supermodel into the girl next door.
Louise Neri, who collaborated with Ray on the project at the Parkett end, told me that Charlie wanted the prints to be the size and sort destined for a refrigerator door, like the ones a couple would keep at home, a modest and lovely gesture. By using a Nick Knight airbrushed, hair blown photo of Patitz for the cover, Ray had taken the space of a high brow art publication and turned it into a disposable fashion monthly. In place of a fashion spread, however, was a photographic sculpture of falling in love with the girl next door, a girl who just happened to be a supermodel.
When I met a similarly radiant, down-to-earth German model, Alina, at a party in Williamsburg last June, Ray's sculpture came back to me. The deconstructed idealism and romanticism in Ray's "Most Beautiful Woman in the World" would become the departure point for the journeying "Melancholia."
Months later, I photographed Alina for my Perfect Empathy series. In "Melancholia," I've included five new crumpled silver marker drawings. In one of these, she is casting a sidelong glance at the camera. Because the vibe in this piece reminded me so much of the Calvin Klein ads of the 80s, we jokingly began to call it: "Calvin Klein Alina."
Then, as I was working on this collection of photographs, something unbelievable happened: WWD (Fashion magazine) featured my drawing, Perfect Empathy (Sara 02), 2008, as the inspiration for Francisco Costa's new Calvin Klein F/W 2012 Women's Collection. Magically, Calvin Klein had been summoned by "Calvin Klein Alina" through a wrinkle in time. My head exploded.
Once my assistants put my head back together, I looked up old Patitz again. Of course! She was a famous Calvin Klein model in the 80's! I fell apart...everything had come full circle. Through melancholia, I found the most beautiful woman in the world.
The above text is adapted from an epilogue that originally appeared alongside a portfolio of images designed by Slater Bradley for the May 2012 issue of Un-titled Project Magazine.