Dean West’s Portfolio

25 May



  • Fabricate
    I must have a body: it is a moral necessity, an ‘obligation’. And, first of all, I have a body because there is something dark in me. G. W. Leibniz
    A very impressive figuration and a powerful language make the photography of Dean West a process of “mental phagocyting-images”, a source of a symbolic language and impetuous visual effects. Dreamy in narration, “over-real” at the surface, West harmoniously connects beings and spaces of an imaginary dimension, with semblants, languid creatures, charmant and dark too, with a glassy eye, who are inexpressible in their unreality. The scene of the sensations’ collection created by West is always characterized by the silence and the immobility of the experienced time: every lull is anxious but quiet, an unsettled but grave and solemn suspension. The beings, the actors, the sets rule in a dimension where you lose the ability to distinguish real from mental, phisycal from untouchable; all elements become a transitive incorporation of the characters (of the photographic tale) in the identity of the world around them. Nobody belongs to the contest where is located by West:  very item or animal, even every interaction is troubled because of a shocking extraneousness. This way, the cause and effect disappear in expressive elements’ relations. The expressive elements create instead incompatible connections, junction and disjunction. But it’s hard to recognize these suspicious relations and it’s harder to catch all the possible interactions. West’ pictures live without destiny and story. The inner correspondences among the beings who illogically live together in a dimension (damaged worlds or colonized by animals places) look alienated and cold. Pictures boast irrefutable elegance and sophistication; a classic perspective structure, central, from the Renaissance. The set design remember works by Vredeman de Vries, Raffaello or by Maurits Cornelis Escher. These theories amplify the suspicion of an“hypo-real” art: it’s able to make up some forms of beauty and harmony in the process of knowledge; it forces imagination to overstep the frames of reality, out of control and out of truthfulness. When the logical sense leaves vacuous places and relations, the obscure side of the soul surfaces, along with its silent fragility. Leibniz asserted that the soul was an obscure and inner process, inaccessible, but this dark nature required a body, a surface, a mask. The West’ work perfectly places in the Leibniz’ thoughts, because of the effort to join the inside with the surface. He perfectly places between the silent resurfacing of the inner wishes, sensations and anxiety, and the sudden mise-en-scene of statuesque and clockwork bodies, like dummies in a shop window ready to a deathly performance.
    ROBERTO LACARBONARA, Locorotondo, 11/01/2011

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