9mouth789 from Menstrual series (2014)

I can’t look at the sprawling mass of mostly messy work on 9mouth’s website without comparing him to Ren Hang–particularly his Instax mini images. The comparison does the former no favors…

Yes: occasionally 9mouth’s work achieves an almost transcendent tenderness. Take the above–the lighting, pose and gesture all balance perfectly to offset what appears to be barrel distortion warping the baseboard. There’s an introspective cast to her expression. It’s really quite lovely.

There are a few other pictures where the image serves to still questions about concept and execution. This one, for example.

Unfortunately, these images are the exceptions that prove an entirely entitled, arrogant and conceptually specious framework. Take his on-going Menstrual series. He says essentially–I’m paraphrasing because the English translation is astonishingly bad: he chose a different woman every month and photographs her life. It’s not intended to be private because like you know he widely shares the pics on the interwebs. By working with them he finds himself falling in love with them but at the end of the month, it’sover. A cycle of melodramatic, manufactured loss he equates with the monthly shedding of the uterine lining.

It’s the sort of thesis that even a shoddy art teacher would render more hole ridden than a slice of Swiss cheese in less than a minute. But, it’s infuriating to me that on top of this he so frequently imposes himself on the frame in an objectifying fashion or worse, touches the models in a way that is unambiguously sexual.

And I don’t mean to suggest that there is something that is inherently off limits as far as process goes. If being an image maker is the only way you can get laid, then at least own that shit upfront. Don’t be all using flimsy conceptual justifications for the shart you use as an occasion to perhaps drop those panties. (That shit is straight up a soft form of predation, btw. And spare me the exploratory creativity justification counter argument…check out mafucker’s Lofter with the outtakes from Menstrual where he takes selfies with each women he shoots.)

What disgusts me with 9mouth is that his work has a fuck load of raw potential that quite frankly seems wasted in 90% of the work he exhibits.

That other 10%, tho… makes you like to say gotdamn!

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