STUX + HALLER is pleased to announce the opening of EYES ONLY, a group exhibition of photographs by ORLAN, Halim Al Karim, Josef Fischnaller, Ruud Van Empel, and Lydia Venieri. These photographs stare back at us, serving as a permanent documentation of what might otherwise be classified memory.
EYES ONLY explores questions of sight, self, war, trauma, and memory. The five artists participating in this show fluently articulate the jarring and expressive impact of the gaze. These artists relay a varying spectrum of artistic messages, but they are all unflinching in their art. In their contrasts, we find the commonality of the gaze.
The eyes are both windows and shutters to the soul. In observing each other and ourselves, the eyes allow us to construct the photographic storyline of our past and present. We visualize the future while witnessing the present. Optical perception immediately becomes memory. How we perceive warps what we see and how we remember.
EYES ONLY features work by ORLAN from her Re-Figuration / Self-Hybridization Pre-Columbian series. Her foray into the infinite permutations of the self is an enduring feminist commentary on rituals and expectations of beautification. Halim al Karim isolates the eyes to expose the stark reality of the devastating wars in the Middle East, pushing the viewer to empathize and reflect upon the witnesses of tragedy. Josef Fischnaller playfully recycles historical portraiture, photographing the present looking into the past, making us smile in recognition of this continuum. Ruud Van Empel digitally paints with photographs often creating composite adolescents with the eyes of many, allowing us to observe an invented psychosocial humanity, critiquing representations of adolescence, race, and gender. Lydia Venieri harnesses the reflective eye itself to reveal the lingering effects of trauma and calamity upon the societal psyche, resurrecting images of tragedy that the world might rather enshroud in secrecy.
The eyes in these photographs are piercing, calming, deceptive, unnerving, and revelatory. Each of these artists utilize the gaze to strip away farce and force the viewer to confront the subject, creating art FOR EYES ONLY of those who wish to travel between the world and the mind, to delve into the societal secrets held within the gaze.