A solo exhibition by Mark Arcamo
“Beyond the fiction of reality, there is the reality of fiction.”Slavoj Žižek, “Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism”
Mark Arcamo’s works study the complexity and nuances of human nature, and the spaces it inhabits. In his latest show “Artificial Staging,” he critiques how our lives, now irrefutably influenced by technology, create a dichotomy where the physical and the imagined are locked in a constant interplay of forces, one seemingly seeking to outdo the other, and likewise resulting in the question of which parts are still real, and which aren’t. Through this, Arcamo taps into the principal concept that perceives the artist as creator of a constructed reality.
In “Artificial Staging,” human figures merge and morph with the realm of technology, suggesting the idea that we are slowly becoming the things we interact with. Arcamo displays a meticulous consistency in drawing together an assorted mix of attractive colours, seamless in its execution, while subsequently highlighting each subject as they are brought to the very forefront of the canvas. They stand out as monochrome figures, familiar in form but strange in representation. Human bodies are depicted with body parts altered to fit various technological equipment; some have heads replaced with camera lenses and video game consoles, others have wires and cables protruding from the chest and torso. This peculiar fusion of the inanimate and the human produces a subtle sense of discomfort, countered only by the impeccable clarity with which the artist splices each element together.
It is clear that the world these subjects inhabit is one which Arcamo himself has conjured. And yet, he incorporates into it an allusion to the process of painting as a means of creation, where the artist becomes the medium through which the real and the created are brought face-to-face with one another. The works in “Artificial Staging” reflect precisely that – a world that is almost completely constructed by fictions like technology, which have begun to permanently alter the way we perceive ourselves, and our relationships with others.
Words by Elle Lucena