Lena Owen | On 12, Jun 2017
Strangler. The title alone hits you. To see it on the gallery walls is visceral. The churning movement and twisting material evokes the very experience of strangulation. The tie knots creep ever tighter and you can feel the stress levels rising in your body.
For anyone who has struggled with a deadline or multiple projects, the work is immediately relevant. You relive your last moment of agony, and as you ponder the technique and wonder of the work, you question your own goals. Is the business shirt for me? Is the stress worth it? What do I really want?
To encounter this visual aid to discerning your true desires in life, head directly to Red Sea Gallery. Roman Longginou has a series of drawings on display as part of his Torn exhibition. Working with the concept of vanitas, Roman depicts torn and twisted clothing items from the corporate world: collared shirt, tie, black shoes.
The title piece, Torn, is a business shirt ripped down the middle. The positioning of the shirt is terrifyingly evocative, calling to mind the opening of the ribcage. The ripped and broken shirt is imbued with meaning from the futility of life to our changing economic times. The dark and serious drawing also presents some humour.
I am amused by the irony that Torn would have taken hours and hours to complete and is now presented as a lesson in the brief nature of life. But indeed, that would be the point, to be mindful of how you spend your (all too brief) hours.
Roman has three advertisement studies included in the exhibition. The advertising origins of the images are clear through the posed nature of the figures. The viewer can immediately place them in a fashion photography context without any additional aids. The concept of modern vanity is explored with the faces replaced with blocks of bright colour.
It was Advertisement Studies III that caught my attention. The stylised casual pose was like those so often seen in glossy images and Instagram feeds. The lack of face, for me, called attention to the rise of the individual in current mass media; questioning the notion of self and our impact on and in the world.
I entertained a daydream of the work ending up on the wall of a marking executive or in an advertising agency. I pondered the layers of meaning it would hold in its new fanciful home. These flights of fancy stayed with me and I thank Roman for their inspiration.
What: Torn exhibition by Roman Longginou
When: Tuesday 6 June until Sunday 2 July
Where: Red Sea Gallery, Fortitude Valley
More Info: Event page online