Arseni KhamzinUntitled (2013)

…holy shit: this. is. FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC!

It’s a compositional marvel, really–the interplay between line, texture and shadow vs. light is exemplary.

The subject is slightly off-center to the right of the frame; allowing the top and right of frame to be counter-balanced by the much darker shadows cast by the subject and chimney.

There’s an intoxicating variety of sumptuous texture–poured concrete, mortar, corrugated metal, skin, hair and fabric. (It’s an especially inspired touch that the lines on the tartan print blanket reiterate the two point perspective of the composition, but in their slightly imperfect alignment, they server to further direct attention toward the subject.

Why does it all work so well? Two years ago I would’ve just offered the cop out of attention to detail regarding texture and balance but actually, the frame works off a simple 45 degree clockwise re-orientation of the rule of thirds.

And I’m not even to the best part–this is a Pietà! Yes, it’s oriented differently. Traditionally, Pietà present Jesus from head to toe starting with his head at frame left and his feet towards frame right. [Can someone with a little bit more comprehensive of an Art History background explain the relevance of such positioning? I suspect there’s something to it (sacred vs profane, which would be interesting given the fundamentally humanist trappings underlying the codification of the trope)–not unlike the direction Ganesh’s trunk curls having distinctly different meanings.]

Yes, it’s also short a figure and the genders are swapped–or so it seems to me. But there’s really some fascinating reinterpretation going on surrounding the trope. I can’t help but think the point of this variation has something to do with the loneliness of existence and a sort of embodiment of that notorious line from Donnie Darko: every living creature on earth dies alone.

Lastly, this was made on Impossible Instant Black and White Film with Hard Color Frame–which in my experience is not the easiest film to use if you want to produce a thoroughly luminous result such as the above.

Stunning and exceptional.

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