born 1988 in rochester, new york
‘beauty will save the world’
For the first time in Germany, the Candela Project Gallery is exhibiting the work of New York photographer erin mulvehill. “Beauty will save the world” is the credo of this artist who has already made a name for herself in the USA and Japan thanks to her photographs for various cult magazines and publications.
The importance of documentation in the face of fleeting memory became apparent to Mulvehill at a young age. When she was just a child, observing her mother religiously record the family made her recognize and appreciate the ephemeral nature of life. Since that time Mulvehill has been concerned with the preservation of transient moments. in hopes of maintaining a record of her life, she kept a diary and developed the habit of saving bits of things from life whenever possible. the things she saved and recorded served as little knots on the string of her memory, places she could always transport back to within her mind and revisit at her own will.
When she was eighteen years old, Mulvehill lived solo in London for the summer and experienced a personal vision quest. there she discovered buddhist belief and began photographing regularly. the convergence of buddhism and photography in her world seemed fated as she found innumerable parallels between the two, namely the importance of being awake and aware in the moment.
In her first two series, Human, Being and Iconoclast, Erin Mulvehill’s great interest in the forms of earthly and transcendental life were already expressing themselves. These images have a quiet strength and a true concern for the world expressed through beauty. Her most recent series, Underwater, goes on to explore the concept of transience and rebirth. To do this, she photographed herself and a series of young, beautiful women in a virtual “frozen” moment of transition. Mulvehill says of this series that "these images carry a sense of rebirth, or movement between transient states. transience is something that is at the root of the human condition. everything is ephemeral, nothing is permanent. while this idea is present in buddhism, it is weaved into the very fabric of our existence. we are all born, we all move through various states of growth, decline, happiness, sadness, and we will all die. whether one believes that is where life ends or where the cycle continues, everyone can agree that we go through different states of existence. In that sense, the images are very telling because each figure is transitioning, but every person is different.' If you look at the subtitles from the Underwater series, it becomes even more clear to see what the artist is interested in: “to be reborn, lovingly dedicated to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico”. This dedication, paired with her belief that 'beauty will save the world', demonstrates what belief Erin Mulvehill wishes to convey about purely external beauty. Dating far back into history the concept of beauty has had an element of the ideal which is often forgotten in modern times. In Underwater, Erin Mulvehill wishes to make a contribution towards becoming aware not only of the physical beauty of humans but also, at last, of natural beauty. To bring human life into harmony with nature and, in the sense of the humanistic ideals of the ancients, to protect our environment are the subjects which the young photographer Erin Mulvehill is convinced by and which she convincingly addresses.