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Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
HansAlbert
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,080
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my thoughts
In reply to Irakly Shanidze, 4 months ago

The subject matter of the photo is composed of a model in the guise of a mermaid, an old sailing ship in the green countryside and some visitors of today. Some traditional attributes of a mermaid strike the eye: her long blond hair, a teardrop signifying unhappiness, a fish referring to her realm, and the sailing ship (and, by implication, its crew) as the object of her alluring powers. The association of the ship with the mermaid is supported by the curvaceous figurehead – the patroness of the ship and also the projection surface of the unsatisfied desires of the sailors. Correspondingly, the mermaid does not only exert her power over the ship and the seducible men, she is equally subject to an unsatisfied desire, even though human sexuality is beyond her possibilities. Her pose and the teardrop on her cheek express this impossible desire and her knowing about it. The conspicuous way she is lying on the soil exhibits, as it were, the affinity of her imagined womb – that's what her curved strands of hairs ending in a Y-shape indicate – to mother earth, the origin of life. Similarly, the gestures of her hands and the water bowl with the fish can be read along these lines.

From a viewpoint of cultural history a depiction of a mermaid making essential use of sexual symbols, esp. referring to the opening of the womb and the seed of life is hardly surprising; cf. http://feminismandreligion.com/2013/11/04/mermaid-goddess-of-the-sea-by-carol-p-christ/  Thus, the thumb of the mermaid's right hand may be priapic, the V-shape gesture of her left may be understood correspondingly, the water bowl may be an appearance of mother earth's "womb of life", and the fish may be both, a phallic symbol and, enabled by Plutarch's narration about a fish that swallowed Osiris' p-n-s*, a symbol of its complement. What we see, then, as the subject matter belongs together in one way or the other, but is still surreal in the sense that reality elements and fantasy are integrated to a bizarre scenery.

What, accordingly, is the subject of the photo? At least, it comprises themes such as unfulfilled sexuality, the attraction of the mysterious other, inner disunity and the search for identity. The ultimate subject, however, is the revival of the viewer's imagination by the artistic manner of representation. Irakly uses e. g. a seemingly minor element in the photo, the visitors of today, as an alienating means. They break the "fourth wall" by destroying the illusion that the staged scene is altogether fairytale-like, and thus Irakly stimulates the viewer to see it rather "experimentally", that is to say as one realization of many possible ones. Could not the model equally play the woman of today playing the mermaid of the myth as a parable instead of playing the mermaid of the myth wishfully representing herself a woman? Could not the model break character by addressing the viewer or doesn't she do that already by her highly symbolic pose and gestures? Questions upon questions, a stimulus of the imagination. At least some of Irakly's photos are like a never-ending love-affair.

* the written-out word is banned, how virtuous

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