American artist Dennis Manarchy is a rising figure in the world of photography. The increasing number of national and international awards and nominations (Graphis Awards, 100 Best in Photography 2011, CLIO Awards…) that has been acquired over the last decades give a good account of this.
Manarchy’s photography focuses on the human portrait accompanied by objects or artifacts that somehow `dehumanize` the models, in order to provoke in the viewer a sense of restlessness and make them reflect on the human condition. Within the personal style of this photographer there is a great influence of Irving Penn, former teacher of Manarchy and one of the best fashion photographers, portraits and still lifes of the twentieth century.
Manarchy models are almost always young men and women, usually nude or semi-nude, in evocative or reflective poses and attitudes, accompanied, converted or enclosed within artifacts or mechanisms that seem to turn them into automatons, beings far from the mundane.
In his series Surreal, the characters seem to adopt the appearance of androids from the expressionist film Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927) while in Pretty Color the represented women have a totally human appearance but are inserted within a scenario of industrial aspect in which the primary colors prevail. In The West, on the other hand, Manarchy moves away from his conventional formulas to reflect in a naturalistic way the spirit of the Native Americans (Lumbee tribe), next to which he spent six months living in North Carolina.
“METAL. Dennis Manarchy”, the last exhibition project presented in Spain (exhibition that could be visited in La Térmica de Málaga) by the American photographer and which we will explain in more detail below, is a good example of the way Manarchy works.
In the exhibition, curated by Andrés Fernández, with a total of 36 large-format pieces that explored the narrative of love and codependency between the figures and the devices represented, from a vision totally contemporized. Manarchy uses the technique of sublimation, in which the photographs are printed on a metal textile support and aluminum plates ChromaLuxe, to highlight the connection of the objects represented with the human body. The curious objects and artifacts that can be seen in the photographs and starred in this exhibition came from the private collection of Steve Erenber, collector and art dealer known under the name of Radio Guy. Within the collection of Erenberg, defined by the merchant himself as ‘industrial tribal art’, highlights pieces of African tribal art, industrial objects and medical engineering, as well as various antiques and other rarities. This exhibition is the culmination of a decade of work that has affected every aspect of the exhibits.
The photographic technique employed by Manarchy gives the images a spectacular definition, a sense of depth and realism. The visual force of the images created by Manarchy and further enhanced by the gigantic dimensions of the pieces, manages to bewitch the viewer.
The bodies of the models represented are made up with spray paint of silver and gold tones that manages to accentuate that metallic/ robotic feeling that unites the human and the industrial. In addition, the bodies seem to be part of the objects that accompany them in the scenes; the artifacts dress them, personify them, robotize them in a way that only the American photographer has been able to reflect. It is undoubtedly a very interesting exhibition, with a great visual potential and that catches the viewer from the first moment he accesses the room.
Art for the Hungry.
Text: Iustinian Bolohan.
Photo: Dennis Monarchy – From the Exhibition in La Térmica(Málaga).
HōRNō _ Galería de Arte Online.