I visited Giverny a few years ago, and "punk rock" was not the first, or second, or fiftieth thing that came to my mind while I was there. Clearly I'm just not inspired enough. When E.V. Day, feminist installation artist, sculptor, and photographer, was awarded the Munn Artists Residency by the Versailles Foundation to live on Monet's estate in Giverny in 2010, she proceeded to invite performance artist Kembra Pfahler there to collaborate on a photographic project--one that would add some edge to the classic lily pads and bridges we're all so familiar with.
Taking the ideas of the living sculpture, Playboy's "femlin" characters, and female fertility and sexuality, Day and Pfahler created a collection of photographs that combines classic beauty and the beauty of the grotesque. To achieve the strange symmetry and surreal feel of the photos, Day manipulated the space digitally; and by doing this in a space that is both so natural and so controlled, science is simultaneously accepted and re-envisioned. "In the same way that Kembra mixes sex and power, beauty and horror, the works hint at the possibility of a bizarre and titillating new sexuality. Perhaps like a water lily itself: solitary, bisexual and radial."
For then we have Pfahler: standing (or sitting) defiantly in the middle of the perfectly still and stylized garden, painted red and naked except for a pair of black thigh-high boots. And though she looks like a sexy alien whose 'fro caught on fire when her ship crashed in this curious garden, in a way, the scene doesn't look so odd. Everything and nothing is alive: both Pfahler and the garden are animate objects, but they are sculpted and arranged just so.
The exhibit, Giverny, at The Hole in NYC--which has been transformed into a replica of Monet's garden for its duration--opens on Friday, March 30th, from 7-9pm and runs until April 24th.
The Hole, 312 Bowery, NYC
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