From Stella Rosa McDonald…
The second part of a three-part series by Rafaela Pandolfini, Ugly Angry considers the legitimacy and usefulness of anger as an emotional state via a type of expanded autobiography. Taking from a variety of influences the suite of works utilize the process of phototherapy, a collaborative form of photography developed by photographers Jo Spence and Rosy Martin that empowers rather than objectifies the subject. By adopting techniques from co-counselling the process sees the artist utilize costume, re-enactment, choreographed performance and—vitally—the camera to reflect on personal issues of class, gender, sexuality and body politics.
The stated influence of author and filmmaker Chris Kraus— whose books the New Yorker describes as being for ‘smart women who like to talk about their feelings’ — invites us to consider Pandolfini’s work in the context of a rare discipline: that of emotion. Like Kathy Acker’s sex-positive feminism, Pandolfini’s works expand the limited vocabulary used for feminine representation to show us that abjection is not a dirty word. Via photography, video and sound Ugly Angry employs stereotypical representations of femininity to toy with the parameters of portraiture. The show’s title is a provocation that plays upon antiquated accounts of “emotional women” and is perhaps an ironic warning for women to not get mad lest they loose their looks. The performative processes and striking costumes used in the works—like Jack Smith in monochrome—create a distance between the artist and herself because, as Pandolfini’s invites us to remember, ‘life is not personal’.
Until August 2
Wellington St Projects, Chippendale
Pic: Rafaela Pandolfini, Ugly Angry 9, 2014. Photograph on semi gloss photo paper, 26 x 40cm. Image Courtesy the artist