The beautiful dead
Suddenly, deeply unsettling images break surface in the bric-à-brac of the pictures’ world. They constitute a fascinating sight, even though you would prefer to turn your back on them. They scandalize. Not because of showing something extreme horrible: an image-machine, working flat out, has neutralized the spectacular pictures of horror a long time ago. It’s because they unveil the repressed. Secret fears. Nearly all people have these in common. These are pictures with the ability to look back. The cycle of images “Underwater” visualizes what people fear most of all: death. But the creepiest moment may be the fact, that these are pictures of incredible beauty. Erin Mulvehill shooted a number of attractive women, seeming to been drowned. Their bodies are sinking or are rising to the surface. Some of them appear still fighting against the death. With the mouth slightly opened – paradoxically, like fish out of water. The water surface, which is identically equal to the picture’s surface, freezes into an impenetrable pane. Just like a photograph. Several women already have their eyes closed. They seem to be dreaming. Loose wisps of hair are flowing over their faces like climbing plants. Others are glancing into the inside, while their faces are already becoming indistinct in part. However, their refracted gaze touches to the core. Realizing their death was unexpected, terrifies most. Abruptly and violent. The women are far too young. Nevertheless the artist captures a moment of the passage – not living anymore, not yet dead. The “as if” provides the reason. They are directed images. Images, which carry the only certainty of all possibilities in human life: death. The water skews the perspective. As utilized picture foundation (and as plain at the same time), it abrogates the conventions of visual perception. The observers lose their position from the safe distance of the noninvolved. They find their selves both in front of and inside the picture and molt their orientation. The screen window’s frame opens and the force of attraction drags those under, who look at the pictures; into the nowhere between birth (out of the water), death (in the water) and rebirth, without anybody being able to pass the threshold while watching. Peace has spread on the ostensive dead faces. They rest in the color blandishing Sfumato of blurring. Transcendental beauty. Erin Mulvehill has returned the photography’s aura. Namely, what the speeding image-machine’s overkill wants to overlay constantly: the sorrow at the bereavement.
Prof. Klaus Honnef
Title: Erin Mulvehill Underwater | Artist-Catalogue
Publisher: Candela Project Publishing
Format: 21 x 29,7 cm
Pagecount: 34 Pages