HEAVY WITH THEIR DRINK
by Matto Lucas
1 November - 4 December 2018
About the Show
“There is a willow grows aslant a brook
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream (...) As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.”
(Excerpt from the speech from the character of Gertrude, describing the death of Ophelia, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet)
Matto Lucas is a photographer and visual artist interested in identity politics, the concept of beauty, male body value systems, photographic processes and relationships and the visibility of queer people.
HEAVY WITH THEIR DRINK comprises a series of male forms in passive, vulnerable poses typically reserved for female bodies presented within art and photography. Lucas engages tropes such as not engaging in direct gaze with the viewer and the presentation of sleeping or lifeless models as seen in editorial fashion photography and prominent in art history.
A contemporary twist on John Everett Millais’ painting Ophelia, this series brings new meaning to milk baths (often used in pregnancy photography) with the reverence of Byzantine Icons. Alongside these heavily edited, manufactured images are smaller, black and white photographs that act as windows into the candid reality of the construction of these fantasies.
HEAVY WITH THEIR DRINK displays the male form as a playful study and dialogue about beauty aesthetics in relation to masculinity, queerness, identity and the patron’s gaze.
Lucas’ experience as a professional photographic retoucher and editor has informed his artistic practice in regards to exploring concepts of alteration, beauty and ugliness, the problematic nature of aesthetics, image mutilation as metaphor and ideas of truth and fiction.