“A constant duality exists in Ali Kepenek and Max Snow’s recent work of photography, installation, sculpture and collage. Under the theme of pain, both artists address their life experiences from physical existence, through installation and sculpture, as well as the internal and emotional realm, as depicted in their portrait photographs and collages.
Kepenek’s photographs are the personal recordings of his world experience, depicting distorted scenes of self-destruction, substance abuse and sexual dissipation from the Berlin and London nightlife. The nude portrait subjects have had a strong personal connection with the artist, reflecting and unveiling layers of Kepenek’s stages in life appearing as a type of flip book of emotional memory. The photographic subjects posed in a kind of free fall motion, reaching their arms out in protection from hurt or painful infliction.
Kepenek’s installation constructed from slats of burnt wood forming a wall with the name ‘Tottenham’ inscribed on it. The wall is the result of Kepenek’s personal projections and emotional reactions to the riots in London this year. The sculptures presenting young rioters standing back to back with designer bandanas hiding their faces, depicting an aggressive action motivated from an inner pain. The artist believes the destructive action can be viewed as an emotional response fuelled by a frustrated desire to obtain money, luxury goods and designer labels.
Confronted with the theme of the exhibition, viewers are driven to not only seek out the artists pain, but also to confront what aches them personally. Max Snow’s portraits of individuals laden with scars expose, adages and selected lyrics from old country songs suggest, and sculptures reinforce objects and symbols of pain in Snow’s work.
Snow’s two portraits of a man known as ‘Crowman’ have a recto and a verso: one side hinting at elation and the other revealing agony. The dialogue that Snow creates by choosing to present the works double sided indicates the duality of pain itself: to experience pain one must also experience something that is painless. Accordingly, a salient sculpture reading Cry Forever in hundreds of small bulbs flashes in Morse code “But it makes me feel better each time it begins calling me home Hickory Wind,” lyrics chosen by Snow from Gram Parsons’ song Hickory Wind.”
excerpt of press release of their show by Duve Berlin
Ali Kepenek’s work here
Max Snow’s work here