Round Fifteen: Additions
Jose Romussi vs. Luca Meneghel
This vs. That is back for 2014 and while I am trying to come up with something exciting and new to add to it, I have failed for today. So for today’s version it will be all familiar and comforting. Easing you in to the new year for now, but next month I will deliver something mind-blowing! (Well, here’s hoping).
Today I am looking at photography that has some similar additions, but through different mediums. Let’s get into it.
What I like about the first image (Romussi):
Well. I love this piece. The black and white works so well and helps to integrate the embroidery (yes, it’s actually thread sewn into paper) into the image more seamlessly than some of his other work. From an artistic level, the black and white brings in notions of good and bad, right and wrong – a two toned way of looking at life. This enhances the embroidered aspect, making it vital to the image. The skull addition adds the element of death and evil, further confirmed by the colour it has been done in. This contrasts with her blonde (white) hair and the hidden aspect of her. It almost becomes a yin and yang face. We know the skull doesn’t continue under her hair (like it might had it been painted on the model’s face before the shoot) so therefore we know the dark aspect does not consume her entirely. Rather, we are presented with a conflict between her (and us) about good and evil, light and dark. Her outfit is both black and white thus showing the conflict is strong, continuing down her body. Our artist Romussi has not chosen to make her have an internal conflict, but has honed in on the cues in the image to develop this notion. In many ways the artist has reversed the traditional meaning of the photo. I imagine that before Romussi’s addition, the dark aspect of the woman would be the hidden part – closed off, keeping secrets behind the mask of hair. Yet with the embroidered addition, the part of the face that was once open is now closed (taken even further down the sinister road) and the part of the face that was once hidden becomes good (due to the white equating to purity).
A great image with a lot of meaning and discussion to be had on its subject matter. While I imagine I am reading a little too much into it, it is still great that the piece can inspire so much thought and stimulation which is never a bad thing.
What I like about the second image (Meneghel):
This image requires a little bit of looking at before you can really get it. The frame of the mirror is included in this shot which helps viewers identify that the ‘dress’ is actually drawn onto the mirror and the model is actually naked, clothed only by the stark lines and fancy clothing created by an artist (not Meneghel himself, he’s purely the photographer). The contrast of the ethereal model and nature scene with the line work on the mirror creates a slight jarring that allows viewers to recognise an illusion is being played on them. While the style of clothing, and crown in this instance, affirm the scene our model is in, the thickness and monochromatic nature of the pen work affects reality. But surely this is what is so fascinating about the work. When looking closely you can see her outline, where her legs cross, how she stands – exposed and welcoming. Yet she is covered up, allowed dignity and hidden from the male gaze. The frame of the mirror makes us wonder where she really is. Is she in the mirror? The surface drawn on to protect her? Or is she reflected in the mirror? Her body naked behind our turned away gaze? Does that make the image highly erotic, or simply voyeuristic? I love it regardless. The questioning that is created by the image is in a similar league to Romussi’s image above. It would seem that merging two planes creates quite a disruption of our usual visual reality. What greatness.
I like both. I imagine you do too. I think the idea behind Meneghel’s work (the ‘Into the Mirror’ series you can google) is strong. Stronger than what I guess Rommusi’s idea was. I think Rommusi would be an intuitive creator, taking found images and adding his spin (yarn) to them without giving it too much thought. More of an organic creator. Meneghel’s series from which this image comes has to be a well though-out operation with sound reasoning and set goals. Does this matter? I suppose not. The answer I seek is what is visually best. And for me I have to choose image number one, Jose Romussi. It is stronger visually. Or at least appeals to me more, and I did find concepts behind it which you can talk about for hours, especially leading to moral debate about human nature and all that fun stuff. I do give huge credit to Meneghel (and Norma Nardi the mirror illustrator) for the concept and brilliant execution. It is a good series so I will put a link here. But Rommusi takes it today.
Do you agree? Let me know which piece you would crown winner and why.