RIK GARRETT: While photography is most often used to document the visible, I use the medium to document what cannot be seen. To aid in my exploration of the invisible and intangible, I have called upon other fields of study dedicated to investigating veiled realms – namely the overlapping circles of Alchemy, the occult and fringe science. I draw inspiration not only conceptually, but in the methods historically used to document the unseen: ghostly spirits, the human aura or thoughts themselves.
A turning point came when I recently found myself in love and happily engaged. This led me to question the nature of love: what is it, how do we sense it and how can it be authenticated visually? Employing my research and knowledge of hidden forces I explore the realm of affection. The methods and tools historically used in the context of paranormal investigation I utilize to diagnose, document and quantify other abstract forces of life: love and desire.
In “Symbiosis” I used paint to merge two bodies into one, exploring my newfound ideas of love and intimacy while illustrating the Alchemical concept of the Rebis, the perfect being formed of the combined strength of male and female.
The motto of the Alchemists was “Solve et Coagula” – dissolve and combine. This was the secret key to strength, happiness and eternal life. They represented this ideal with the image of the Rebis – a two-headed hermaphrodite that holds the assets of both genders.
I have worked with this as my goal, erasing the boundaries of the human body. By applying paint directly to the surface of photographs, I have actualized an impossible dream – a physical union made tangible through desire. Through this process I have been able to visually and symbolically merge male and female into one body – the perfect being.
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