8 April 2014

"Kill Me, Charlie" solo exhibition by Matto Lucas

Last week, I had the chance to attend the opening night of "Kill Me, Charlie" by Matto Lucas – his first solo exhibition. A combination of large-scale photography, image manipulation and video, Matto also included a performance piece on the night which tied it all together into a moving, slightly disturbing view into self-image and obsession. Guest contributor Maxine Vega reviews the show:

It was with much anticipation (after weeks of Instagram intrigue) we approached the Melbourne library to attend the opening of Matto Lucas’ first solo exhibition.

Matto's work spans multiple disciplines across photography, digital illustration, painting, video, audio and performance. His work is refined and exact, bisecting parts of his own anatomy and using repetition to leave you with a slight uneasiness that’s reminiscent of feelings of self-image you know too well. Large-format transparencies backed by fluorescent lights, framed and cropped close-ups, and manipulated photography, all elegantly relating to each other in a powerful statement about self-perception, beauty, disgust.

Shortly into the evening, the performance piece commences. Matto emerges to commence his workout, dressed in a wedding or burka-like shroud, later revealing a chef’s apron – both transparent white. The audio is eerie and at the same time soothing.

Confronting yet familiar, the familiarity may even be the most confronting thing about the work. The performance piece brings the whole exhibition together in a cacophony of poignant emotions and dark thoughts. It is literally a body of work, and it screams, so bravely, the thoughts that we have all had and have been too scared to articulate or share with our peers.

In a landscape of fast and constant media that is demanding that we adhere to incredibly warped and unrealistic beauty ideals, the human psyche is the unknowing victim, with obsession and disorder becoming by-products of our strive for the unattainable. One would argue that there would be very few people left unaffected by this paradigm.

Amid the proliferation of selfies in social media, and the argument that these are linked to traits of narcissism, self-esteem issues and body dysmorphia, Matto’s work both harnesses and challenges these realities of the digital world, publicly showcasing private uncertainties in a tangible, offline space. Matto is inviting the viewer into his raw and un-censored emotional and physical journey, through which he has clearly achieved impressive results.

The question you are left with is this; will Charlie have his way and destroy Matto, or will Matto tame and quiet Charlie, accepting that Matto can be, and perhaps has always been, just as triumphant and deserving?

"Kill Me, Charlie" is currently on show at the Melbourne City Library until April 28th. To see more of Matto Lucas's work online, visit his website or Facebook page.