I first learnt about Love and Strife = Cosmic Cycle at Gow Langsford in an unconventional way for the digital age. I was passing by the gallery in the evening and looked inside. There were people with glasses of wine in their hands, meaning something was on. The next day there were photos from the show opening in my Facebook feed. Somebody had been to an opening of a “Vogue photographer”. Not that New Zealand is a small country far away from anything, but we don’t see Vogue photographers coming to town every day. I was curious and decided to pay a visit.
Think of a “Vogue photographer” and the first things that come to mind are exotic settings and hot skinny females in extravagant clothing (or not). That was how I imagined Spiros Poros. I was not that wrong. There were hot naked bodies there, and not much clothing involved. But there was more to it than a fashion photo shoot.
There is definite sense of glamour about the photographs, and something cinematic, surprisingly there is no commercial element in them (even though they are for sale). The photographs celebrate the body; they don’t try to sell it to you. This way they are creating a direct connection between the show and classical Greek sculpture. The models in the photographs seem to be ancient sculptures coming alive: perfect athletic bodies. For example, the photograph titled Narcissus presents a young man in a kind of ballet swing, almost off the ground. The muscles of the body seem weightless and gracious, like a butterfly. On the other hand, a sculpture of Narcissus from the Greek Age is deadly still, the pose is undisturbed and passive. Cosmic Cycle photographs seem to have their own agency in them. It is playful, using the body as the only props available.
Ironically, the first association which sprang to mind was that of the Des Hommes et des Chatons famous tumblr, which routinely juxtaposes appealing (if not straight cute) photographs of males to the ones of cats with similar visual triggers in them. In both there is a share of admiration and humor at the same time. In the case of the blog, suggested associations to cats humble the allure of perfect male bodies. In the show, this is done by the witty, tongue-in-cheek titles of the photographs. Mostly referring to the mythology of the Ancient Greece, they can nevertheless be easily applied to the conditions of the modern society.
Each photograph represents an emotion. These are very human emotions: greed, envy, pride, lust, jealousy. The deadly sins are easily located in the photographs. In a way, the series is an updated version of Pandora’s box, with hope replaced by camaraderie.
Photo credit: Tumblr and Gow Langsford