THESKINNYTYPE NARCISSUS’ DREAMS
TheSkinnyType is a London based artist from Colombia whose works are focused primarily on hand-cut photographic collages that create idyllic scenarios of young love and ecstatic beauty that delicately float between idealism and naturalism and play with different representations of the male figure. These scenes are explored from the dreams and fantasies of an observer who is driven either by the desire of realising impossible scenarios of narcissistic love, or looking for intimate moments created from characters and situations that share nothing in common other than the desire to unite two or more figures together. These sensual interactions between one guy and himself and the desire to observe these moments from a voyeuristic perspective are a constant theme throughout TheSkinnyType’s work and form the foundation to his ongoing series ‘Narcissus’ Dreams’. For this exhibition, TheSkinnyType presents a selection of works that highlight the different working methods by which his collages are made; hand cut photographic collage, digital collage and superpositions.
Crucial to TheSkinnyType’s practice is the nondigital process and the constraints that analogue imposes on us. Carefully selecting his images from magazines and books of photographers that he loves, TheSkinnyType’s hand-cut collages involve a meticulous process of cutting, arranging and gluing his selected figures to create realistic but dreamlike compositions that are tinged with the idealism of a renaissance painting; youthful muscular figures are positioned with a clarity of line and delicate use of light and colour.
Scale, light and colour all play an important part in TheSkinnyType’s image selection process. Once chosen, each figure is carefully cut using surgical scissors and arranged through a process of layering to create the desired scenario. For TheSkinnyType, it is the physicality and rigidness of the raw material that he finds most appealing and he is clear to emphasise that there is no digital retouching in his images. ’I love doing things with my hands, especially if they need to be precise and time consuming. Other than the cutting and overlaying process, there is no digital process and no manipulation of the images… I’ve always enjoyed seeing friends with a collage in their hands trying to find out where the cuts are by sliding their fingers along the page’. Through his unprecedented ability to merge each image with such precision and charm, one likens his work to the traditions of classical sculpture, the history of painting of past centuries, as well as to modernist art movements such as Impressionism.
TheSkinnyType’s digital collages are the result of collaborations with photographers who have produced a series of images that they wish to play with, therefore eliminating any pre image selection process. Instead, TheSkinnyType is presented with a pool of images to work with, often of the same model, and is free to digitally cut and arrange each image to generate his fantasy in mind. Collage is a method that enables TheSkinnyType to alter the reality in a picture and to create a sense of unease and friction between his subjects by conveying a completely different story or feeling to the original images taken in isolation. This works particularly well with digital collage, as one can see that the images have been put together artificially, but due to such a detailed precision and merging of lines, one cannot instantly understand how.
This technique represents a shift in focus for the TheSkinnyType and a desire to explore the behaviour and effect that light can have on two analogue images when merged together. Each work is two-sided, made by superimposing two images that are blended using a backlight. The front and reverse of the paper therefore develop together to create new dialogues between the two existing scenarios, each altering the other and challenging the viewer and artist to shape the new results. Abstract at first, once merged together the images become intimately connected with the experience of light. In this process, TheSkinnyType has no control over the placement of his images, forming a direct contrast to his other very precise and controlled hand cut collages. With the ambiguity, TheSkinnyType’s superpositions become less realistic and symbolic of the ultimate constraint.
‘I cannot decide which images I superimpose nor the relationship between the two. It needs to be there already and come together by chance and so my role is less about creating than about discovering something that is already there – more like curating, perhaps.’
Text by Miranda Hill