Silently Empowered

www.thielskagalleriet.se

It is the run up to Europride in Stockholm and the rainbows are beginning to show themselves in all their splendor and if you are interested in art and body image identity then this is a good place to begin; at the Thielska Galleriet in Djursgarden. Exhibiting photographic work by Annika Karlson Rixon. The Building housing the gallery is created by Ferdinand Boberg and stands like a Temple in a Swedish park in Stockholm.

Here within this temple, is a small room, acting as a theater which stages a strained and complex conversation.

At first the conversation is quiet, a contemplative series of photographic renditions portraying two female figures intertwined in various poses, proclaiming unique and sculptural forms.

At this point you are still intact.

Then,

ever so slightly the conversation begins to get louder,

each image becomes the stage for many acts of endless repetition, caught in a never-ending story that evolves within the mind,

within our intimate associations,

the co-dependency,

two bodies morphing into one,

the need,

the desire,

the binding,

almost immoveable is this influx of images,

all different yet all the same,

the non-emotional expression of the model,

the absent face of the other,

the sense of imbalance,

the increase of irritation and

it is unavoidable that the stage closes in,

the room becomes smaller,

it feels suffocating and unnerving and perhaps

it is the heavily hot, humid day where the air coats your skin,

like a membrane so thick you could slice right through it.

Yet somehow it feels fitting to feel so physically uncomfortable.

Rixon is revisiting new ways to view the body and its identity, moving it beyond ‘conventional gender categories’. I am a heterosexual woman or this is only what I have allowed myself to explore and I am intrigued to view the body and its identity through another lens. I saw Rixon’s series of photographs as a physical and intellectual dialogue between the two forms.  The shapes of the two bodies then becoming one, inseparable. One models face devoid of expression or maybe entirely detached while her body is unchanged with every pose, where the other models face is never exposed, her body constantly changing shape and form. It is this juxtaposition that I find compelling. One form an intellectual portrayal and the other physical and emotive. This is where the tension is. We can see the tension, we can feel it but we do not hear it.

 

It is this silence that provoked my own self-reflection about identity and body image. I was hesitant, I did not want to re-visit this again as it is often painful and has been done so many times. But it occurred to me that this is the point, this story will never end.  

If we allow our conversations to get louder, as we gather more voices, and we learn to be comfortable with discomfort, we will surely evolve and a new stage will be set.