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THIS ISN’T A NOVEL introduces the photographs by Kyle Thompson (1992, USA) for the first time in New York, with the means to present new forms and practices in the landscape of contemporary photography. Within this scenery, Thomson’s images evoke an excess of emotions, awe, and a lulling nonsense. The viewer’s enjoyment of his works affects their views, emotions, movements; a state that leads into a form of visual amusement park that never stops.

 

Kyle Thompson’s photographs can be defined with the adjectives millennial-noir, forensic, memory-less, apocalyptic, and otherworldly. They feature in both an exaggerated and tamed way an overly condensed view of human civilization.

 

Thompson, young in age, uses traditional techniques. He photographs with a Canon 60D and he often inhabits the places he shoots in. He uses fire, glass, and water to create special effects, sometimes for days. Occasionally he captures himself, other times he lets the scenery narrate a story that doesn’t exist. With an extremely capable eye for the identification of possible sets, he creates highly sophisticated and beautiful scenes that are crushed by the drama of the subjects. Indeed, this gift gained him international recognition as an awarded still photographer (Netflix’s O.A. is his most recent experience). In his images, there is an excess of feelings pouring out; a devastating irony, despair, and an invite to self-reflection made by piling art and entertainment indistinguishably together.

 

Thomson’s color palette is candy-like. The greens are vivid, the pinks are soft, the blues like semi-precious stones. Everything is 2% more saturated. Everything appears maximized. Even the subjects are lush––they are obviously not doing well, yet they are stylish. The settings are surreal, empty, suspended, yet alive. The narrative is ephemeral, there is a novel that could have a million of beginnings and a million of endings. It drags the viewer into a carousel of possibilities, with no exit. Examples include Swamp (2018), where two long legs linger outside of a small swamp, or Ghost Town (fern) (2016) where nothing but a hand reaches out of the water surface. The viewer can’t tell if they are looking at a crime scene, a party joke of a group of drunk kids, or a well-staged movie scene. Untitled (2016) depicts a young man, bleeding and crawling out of two vintage cars which seem to have crashed.

 

The exhibition aims to offer a new look at contemporary photography in which static settings, selfie-culture, and performative acts merge, addressing the disaster-porn quality of present-day communication channels and news coverage. Indeed, visually and metaphorically speaking, it invites to an infatuated visit to a mysterious place that maybe exists, but maybe not, into a place of confusion and surprise, questioning the capabilities of perception of the viewers themselves.

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