Friday, November 5, 2010

Handiedan: Habba Habba - Opening Reception

Phone Booth Gallery is pleased to present it’s third exhibition by Dutch artist Handiedan, an intricate opus of new mixed media work that expands the artist’s exploration of bodies, sensuality and iconography. The exhibition opens with a reception on November 6th from 7-10pm. The all ages event is located at Phone Booth Gallery’s exhibition space, 2533 East Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90803. After opening night, the work will be available through December 18, 2010 at the exhibition space, as well as

Handiedan’s collage work, now even more layered and labyrinthine than in the past, feeds on the tainted history of pin-up girl posters, using torn, aged surfaces to subvert sexiness. At first glance, the images have a nostalgic feeling, fueled by their ornate details and seemingly straightforward compositions, but a closer look quickly reveals their brutality.

Handiedan’s work is neither clear-cut nor gentle. Limbs tangle with each other, eyes, or even whole swaths of figures’ faces, have been scratched out or blurred to the point of obscurity; texts and flourishes from antique ads become almost sinister as environments for these nearly dismembered figures; tattoos and hidden patterns etched into the images add to the density; and gilt frames emphasize an already over stimulating effect.

Like her equally obsessively predecessors Joseph Cornell and Hans Bellmer, Handiedan acts as a collector of the mundane and eccentric, telling visual stories that are familiar but far from linear. In this exhibition, her interest in Victorian erotica and burlesque meshes with Eastern influences—barely clad girls begin to resemble Hindu goddesses, with multiple limbs and towering headdresses. As divergent icons and eras merge, women become symbols of power as much as desire, yet it’s not clear which, or if either, is better.

Though her current work tends toward multi-faceted, multi-hued theatricality, it also embraces an element of noir-inspired starkness. For the first time, Handiedan has experimented with black and white imagery, and to haunting effect. In “Valkyries No. 2,” a cool white skull becomes a habitat for two grayish, ghostly bodies and, in “Thats a damn fine coat your wearing No. 2,” two gun-wielding women embrace each other with suaveness worthy of Bogart and Bacall.

Ultimately, Handiedan presents a new history by repurposing an old one. Posters, icons, typography, constructs, and decorations of earlier eras are toggled together in a way that scratches away at the past’s objectification while celebrating its glamour.

1 comment:

  1. Both of these images are stunning. The second one is particularly haunting. I hope the prints are large when they get released.