In February 2020, my work was selected to be part of an international photography exhibit at the heart of the colorful and vibrant city of Berlin, in Germany. At the time it was an early exhibition following a major quarantine break and related gallery closures all across Europe. Initially scheduled to take place in March, the quarantine was fully enforced leaving the gallery sitting with the artwork waiting to be seen. Spooky! Thankfully, the quarantine only lasted a few months and the exhibit was able to open its doors at the end of July that same year.
The gallery featured extraordinary photographers from Costa Rica (me!), Kenya, Germany, the USA, Japan and many other countries. The collective work was a perfect fit for the city and it reflected its eclectic mishmash of ideas and customs, I would say that the collection was as colorful and diverse as the host city itself. A celebration of unity, regardless of nationality and/or cultural background.
As you can imagine, I was more than thrilled to have been given such a fantastic opportunity to have my work be represented.
The photo selected (above), was in itself a study that we were developing for a photography class project. The concept behind the photograph was exploring the female shape in a surreal form with heavy reference to Greek mythology, allusive to the legends of the nine muses.
The Female Form and the Nine Muses
It is said that the nine muses in Greek mythology, are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths that were related orally for centuries in ancient Greek culture. The composition of the photograph gives great importance to the character in the middle of the frame. The character in the photo represents Terpsichore, the goddess of dance and chorus.
For the project, we had to base our developments on a reference photographer, in my case, I had Isabel Muñoz, a Spanish photographer known for her study of the female figure and an exploration of the body in motion, particularly bodies of dancers.
Terpsicore en La Cámara Multiforme (Terpsichore in the Multiform Chamber)
"Multiform represents an attempt at engaging with the aesthetic, ideological and environmental chaos of the contemporary world, it accommodates multiple states of being and existing."
At first glance, the title of the piece may seem cryptic. The idea behind it is simple, the muse is trapped in a multiform chamber, like a bird in a cage. Surrounded by shadow all around, by the rigidity of a sinister structure larger than her own. A fragile figure surrounded by walls. You as the observer get to decide what that structure represents to you.
The term multiform comes directly from multiform architecture, as Owen Hopkins an architectural writer, historian and curator based in the UK, mentions in the article: "Multiform is the architectural manifestation of our present moment", Multiform literally takes multiple forms, but can be loosely characterized by design tactics such as collage, reference, quotation, and the bold and expressive use of color, ornament and materials.
Multiform represents an attempt at engaging with the aesthetic, ideological and environmental chaos of the contemporary world, it accommodates multiple states of being and existing. It is manifested in how the architectural features and repeating patterns in the frame of the photograph are carefully selected to cage in the character of Terpsichore within this "chamber".
Multiform also makes reference to a series of paintings by one of my favorite artists Mark Rothko, a prominent abstract expressionist. Using bands of horizontal or vertical color fields. The uniform rectangular surfaces, usually “soft” edged, look as if they float on the same level with the canvas creating a sense of immobility and balance.
As you can see, the nature of my piece lives in the conceptual/artistic photography realms, creating a body of reference work, which would allow me to take a deeper dive into what would become the identity of a larger project.
Left, photo courtesy of BBA Gallery.
Thank you Lina for being such a great muse, dancer and model! Thanks also go to the BBA Gallery for presenting my photograph to the world and for providing some of the photos from the exhibition.