The Seven Deadly Sins: A Meditation
The Seven Deadly Sins : A Meditation presented at the Framers Gallery in London is an exercise in excess. Models were asked to research and meditate on anger, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride and sloth, and then perform them in front of the camera. They had to dig into themselves and search for the particular emotions that each sin generates and then translate those emotions into a single image.
The resulting portraits are a contradiction in terms.
On one side, even though one cannot read the model's personality or identity from the photographs, the attempt to transform their emotional depth from the original idea of each sin does result in a highly personal performance.
The shared topics throughout the exhibition are not only about being destroyed by your own desire, but also about the multiplication or repetition within the subject. This repetition points to the impossibility of a singular, unitary self. Identity is thus positioned not as stable and uniform but acted out, multi-layered and fragmented.
Rather than positioning the photographic portrait as representative
of a unitary individual, each image situates subjectivity as fragmented and predicated on continually shifting contexts and performances of self.
On the other side the multiple images of every model questions the link between identity and performance.
The idea that portraits can necessarily reveal the character and interiority of a unitary subject from the external representation of a face is problematic.
The term "likeness, " which brings with it an idea of truthfulness, is an imprecise term. Richard Brilliant argues that: `Likeness is a mental construct, or image, varying as each perception of another may vary, but only the portrait artist can render such a transient image visible and fixed. In the end, coincidence of perception, not truthfulness, is the true measure of validity in portraiture. ' Richard Brilliant: Portraiture, Reaktion Books, London 1991.
Manuela Granziol was born in Switzerland. She studied economics at the University of Zurich and then worked in the Research Department as a Fixed Income analyst and later as a Portfolio Manager for a Swiss Bank.
She has travelled extensively and completed her BA in Photography in 2002 and MA in Art and Media Practice at the University of Westminster in 2004. She lives and works in London.
In her work she highlights pictorial, or social conventions in order to questions the validity of their perceived neutrality. How does this convention, which we unconditionally accept and often even consider natural, influence the way in which we understand the world?
To explore these themes she often uses photography. Hereby, she regularly explores the materiality and physicality of the media itself, by manipulating, cutting and bending of photographs. She goes beyond the traditional use of the medium and questions the borderline between two- and three dimensionality by frequently transforming photographs into sculptural objects.
âIn my work I have been exploring what we are trying to show or hide by the clothes we wear and how clothing makes others respond to us. I am interested in the decorative, symbolic and emotional qualities of dress and in its powers to attract, disguise and defend. My sculptures are based on my own memories as well as more universal experiences and stories. Literature plays an important part in my work. I have used ideas and images from many fictional characters, often heroines from fairy tales who have changed their fortunes with a change of clothes.
Fairy tales are retold, generation after generation, not only for their fantastic qualities but also because they allow children to grapple with some of the moral complexities of life. Snow White, for example, is essentially a story of vanity. Not only does the wicked queen obsess about her appearance, but the princess is herself tempted by combs and ribbons. "Cinderella" is a tale'' of envy, especially sibling rivalry.
The drama of basic human attachments and temptations explored in these tales acknowledges our identification with the darker parts of ourselves. â