Biancoshock and John Fekner – Family Portrait
In their first collaboration, street and multimedia artist John Fekner, who in the 70s was ‘anonymously known’ for over three hundred environmental/conceptual works consisting of dates, words, and symbols spray painted throughout the five boroughs of New York and previously featured as a guest of Nuart Festival 2014, and ephemeral experiences creator Biancoshock (interviewed and featured) use found objects and remnants of discarded personal clothing at an abandoned and unnamed location to stress the anonymity of those less fortunate who are on the run in many countries today.
Inspired by Dorothea Lange’s photographic portrait documentation of rural poor families and migratory farm workers during the Great Depression, the two artists aim “to create an empathetic reflection of the plight of the migrant; an intimate portrait of a family ‘left hung out to dry’ and on the run”, while at the same time, we are reminded about the broader global issues of homelessness and poverty.
The wheelchair, a symbol of immobility, of social rejection and ignorance, visually opposite to the horse toys on wheels, evoking innocence and life at its beginning, dreams which risk to remain unfulfilled, perhaps permanently abandoned, along with intimate items, indicating the forced rush to leave everything behind in front of a personal or collective catastrophe, and the whole domestic scene of the laundry hanging outside to dry in a desperate wait and hope of return, create a powerful image seen in black and white, as a long forgotten memory, as a painful rediscovery of an old family portrait. But the absence of the family members, the stillness and emptiness suggest the tragedy of the moment and the work’s unfortunate and unsettling actuality, revealing a common situation and its potential causes in contemporary society.
The interest in such issues is not the only aspect that makes the collaboration possible, and keeping in mind Fra.Biancoshock’s recent ephemeral interventions, we turn to the words of John Fekner: “I believe that new material is new thinking for any artist regardless of their age or field of specialization. No matter what the individual discipline, it is to an artist’s advantage to be progressive and challenge oneself by taking risks and explore beyond familiar territory. By immersing oneself in uncertainty, artists face new challenges and may discover innovative solutions in unexpected ways.” And this unique and thought-provoking perspective on reality takes form in the street, in the spaces we no longer recognize as ours, yet mark us deeply because we can never deny their veracity.
(Displaced And On The Run…) 2015
Images courtesy of Biancoshock.