Opening March 4 2016 at 5-8PM
Artist Talk with Julia Peirone, March 6 2016 at 2-3PM
The exhibition is open March 4 – April 24 2016
In the works of Julia Peirone’s she portrays young teenage girls and the demands and ideals that surrounds them. In her quest to find “failure” and the maladjusted, Peirone pushes trough the surface and challenges both her models and the way the audience views them. At Fotogalleriet [format] we are very pleased to present the exhibition Coral Punch with several of Peirone’s works from the past eight years.
Peirone’s most noted series of portraits More than Violet depicts young girls mid-motion. She takes a high quantity of pictures each photography session and then chooses the ones that otherwise would be eliminated at the first selection. The girls have their eyes half or fully closed, some of them their mouth open, like they’re about to say something or are chewing gum, and their hands are often in their hair. Unlike both the tradition of a classic studio portrait and the more modern selfie, which of both often aim to show the model from their best and most beautiful side, these teenage girls are presented with involuntary grimaces and facial expressions. In preparation of the studio session, the girls have made themselves look pretty with make-up and styled hair. But their assumed beauty does not reach the audience. With their focus on themselves, they are momentarily uninterested in the camera and those who will view their picture. Instead we see their attempt to please us only as a layer on their skin.
In the series Badland, we go behind the scenes in Peirone’s studio. The pictures show us young teenage girls while they’re getting ready or are waiting, while being unaware of having their picture taking in that moment. Before her work on More than Violet, Peirone placed and ad at a website, looking for extras. She received reply from over 200 young girls who wanted to model for her pictures. In the video Jag är alltid glad/I am always happy, that is a part if Badland, she borrowed sentences from the letters that she edited into one long monologue. Together they present and image of the impossible demands on young girls today. In the video we see a girl patiently looking into the camera while a voice reads the text.
In Cherry, Honey, Sugar… and Horizons Peirone takes another hold on the media and commercials effect on young girls. The series Cherry, Honey Sugar… depicts used hair-bands, many with hairs snatched off still on them. The titles remind us of the sugary language that is often used in marketing towards teenage girls, but also nicknames that boyfriends give their girlfriends. Together they can be seen as a series of portraits of the girls, where the body is represented in the hairs still stuck on the hair-band. The hair, that otherwise is an important part of the image of beauty for young girl, here gets an unclean and disgusting meaning. In Horizons, Peirone used leftover eye shadow from photographing More than Violet. The different glittery shades create a shimmering horizon in a magical dream world.
In Bump, set, hit and spike Peirone works further with the sexual allusions that are often put on the female bodies of teenagers. The title brings to mind cheer leading, which is a sport mainly practised by young girls. Peirone has instructed her models to let go of their bodies and let them fall to the ground. Their facial expression, on the other hand, remain calm and collected with their focus inwards, towards themselves. When the pictures are taken the girls are about to rise from the floor. The motion is innocent, but gains a sexual innuendo, most likely obliviously to the girls themselves. That they are in an age between childhood and adult life is also obvious in their outfits. The combination of active wear and made-up faces create a duplicity that is reoccurring in Peirone’s work.
Julia Peirone (born 1973) grew up in Lund but now lives in Stockholm. She is educated at University of Photography in Gothenburg (1996-1999) and Konstfack (University college of Arts, Crafts and Design) in Stockholm. She has had separate exhibitions at Musem Anna Nordlander in Skellefteå (2014) and Uppsala museum of Arts, with Anders Sletyod Moe (2009), among others. 2012 she participated in the exhibition (The Visible at Artipelag in Stockholm, an exhibition that showed the 21 most noted photographers in Swedish contemporary photography. The same year she also participated in Aperture Foundation’s exhibition Different Distances in New York. Peirone has published the books Waiting for Red Pigtails (Sailor Press, 2013), More than Violet (Art & Theory, 2012) and Blind Smek Min Kind (Ordfront/Galago, 2002).
Read the review in Sydsvenskan by Thomas Millroth here.
(note: in Swedish)