You miss a lot of wonderful as well as historic art if the nude is denounced. (B. J. Adams)
Covering the human form should not be our means of beauty, nor should decorating ourselves outwardly be our means of self expression. Have we forgotten the intrinsic beauty of the nude?
Having worked with photographer Anton Solomoukha over this past year I have been shocked many times over at how difficult it is for people to look with open eyes at nudes in photographs. Art and nudity simply fall in together, art is poetic, the human form is poetic, and matters of sex and love are of out most poetic quality. Perhaps it is the stark reality that is captured that comes across as criminal, or the inability to trick our minds in interpretation. Nudity in photography has been challenging to me, as far as having to explain what is so beautiful about an image which may seem at first vulgar and threatening.
I myself have grown to look beyond first interpretations, to see the mastery in composition, the irony in placements, and the contrast in reality and imagination which all play hand in hand in Solomoukhas works. There is a finding of oneself which occurs when all else is removed, the models are difficult to look at as we see them bare and honest, and we too begin to relook at ourselves had one stripped us of our protections. The nude should not always be subjective; we should not place on the pure form of the human, values and truths that belong to ourselves only.
In this specific project titled “Haute couture paradoxale” Solomoukha replaces the subject of haute couture in clothing to haute couture in female form. One can see it as a shift in focus, from garment to model. However the irony of the matter is that neither clothing nor women is given the right amount of merit when placed together. Only once removed from the body the fabric, hanging in bundles of unusual shapes, can become a work of art, as does the female body once stripped of unnecessary cover.
What Solomoukha is showing here is an almost x-ray vision into the mechanisms of our society; the routine mechanic systems through which our ideas and values turn in and out of, the wheels that determine our understanding of normality and beauty. One can see bricks hanging from the system as weight is added into our lives. Possibly referring to our capitalist culture, where everything is over commercialized, publicized, and over criticized. Solomoukha is asking to refrain from this chaos, to place our attention to that which really matters, and to find these truths through the pure naked form.
Coming from a background in painting, Solomoukha’s photographs include multiple layers and a mixture of techniques. His added painterly touches, for example drawing which is added into these series, injects into his images a taste of the unknown, unreal, and mysterious. These qualities stand juxtaposed against the bold images he photographs, as well as adding blurred areas, which further play with the notions of time and space in a photographic capture. In his techniques there is a proposition presented to us that the image can continue and evolve, as can our ideas and understandings of nudity in art and photography.
Video presentation with introduction from the artist and examples of new work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg3_taRjNrs
Written by: Shahane Hakobyan