Creon Upton – 22 September, 2013
The basic theme abides: a variety of plaster frames emit, arouse, give rise to a multitude of the caked and hidden statements that mirrors themselves daren't reveal for fear of step-motherly wrath - excretions, protuberances, pendulous organs - a comedy of forms dancing against the possibility of resemblance: evocations obvious and dry, camouflaged against white walls, evanescent, ever expecting to vanish beneath some carefully applied concealer.
To begin at the beginning. Along the wall, a series of oval mirror frames, snow-white and frozen, growing in size as you follow them down, promising an opening, a rabbit hole, an entry into some other sphere.
And we recall Snow White’s own inauspicious relations with mirrors on the wall - and the difficulties of being, or seeking to be, the fairest of them all.
Fair: flawless, unblemished.
Snow-white, frozen. Made up in plaster.
Despite this, the frames boast their own series of stylised imperfections. Hairs sprout from beauty spots, from crevices and deformations. Jewels and blusher adorn the bony limbs that comprise the frames - meek gestures admonishing the thought that this might after all be a crypt, a collection of skeletal remains, a mausoleum making its rightful claim as the only home of the fairness we seek to achieve.
(The Taj Mahal, after all, may be nothing else but a snow-white reminder that that kind of beauty may only subsist in death.)
And what are these dark bands, suggestive of hand-grips, of actual physical action - as though the mirror frame could be some kind of primitive hurling device? What are they but rows of toy soldiers, claiming such rough and warlike dreams to be nothing else but boys-own, boys-only, alternatives to icy, barren impregnability?
The rabbit hole, it turns out, opens onto a silent maelstrom unleashed by the promise of that unnerving passage.
Cluttered clumps of snow-white objects cast against adjacent walls - a stilled, spasmodic rush, unleashed in some abstract instant, flung in fury, drowned by quiet.
The basic theme abides: a variety of plaster frames emit, arouse, give rise to a multitude of the caked and hidden statements that mirrors themselves daren’t reveal for fear of step-motherly wrath - excretions, protuberances, pendulous organs - a comedy of forms dancing against the possibility of resemblance: evocations obvious and dry, camouflaged against white walls, evanescent, ever expecting to vanish beneath some carefully applied concealer.
Yet all this on the walls is also in itself its own concealer. It is the toner, the powder; it is the hairspray, dye and henna. It is the mascara, the perfume, the eyeliner, lip-liner and rouge.
These plaster objects, and the forms that they oh so barely contain - these are oh most certainly not the things that they pretend to be at all.
No. They are ghost-white, snow-white, smooth and fair. They are themselves the unblemished, the perfect, the flawless. And so they resist our touch, our knowing.
Like the perfect woman whose body may only be entombed; like the ideal feminine face that cannot be ravished without defiling the artistry that created its allure - these objects and their promises of revelation remain still, silent, distant in their frozen, ice-white forms.
They say, and yet they don’t say.
They sit, immobile, without emoting. They speak in a silence that knows itself before it ever opens its mouth.
Their purpose is only to go unnoticed while being noticed; to express without expression; to never be made to account for their audacity, for their perversion, for their obscure and comedic lust.
I know them and yet I cannot. They mock me with the refusal of their openness to being known, with their straightforward, uncomplicated invitations.
And they know with me, and they tell to me, that if I look for long enough, then the more I come to know them, the closer I will also come to seeing their refusal of my knowing, of my entry, of my words.
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