SOME/ART : 'TRANSGRESSION' BY DEEPTI BARTH AT L'Eclaireur Rue Hérold, PARIS
Transgression – the exceeding of due bounds or limits
Through a series of colour photographs, a single sculpture and a video, Deepti Barth's “Transgression” conglomerates an exhibition that explores the theme of restriction and our perception of it. The exhibition reflects upon limitation and it's relentless presence within humanity and our own psyche. The photographs capture the Nicosia International Airport, that now stands abandoned and covered in a patina indicative of it's state of decay. The building is located within the Buffer Zone that is controlled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces in Cyprus. It is now a structure situated in limbo, that has absorbed the social and political upheaval that took place between Turkey and Greece years ago. Barth uses her camera to records these real spaces that allows the viewer to create imaginary spaces of the past. The resulting images become poignant and filtrated with the distant memory of the violence and devastation that had gone before. A lone man in a wheelchair moves towards the building and eventually proceeds inside. Barth captures his movements through photographs, as well as via a fragmented, raw and non linear video that is only silent apart from the sounds of wheelchair against the concrete and rubble.
What is most interesting, is Barth's decision to place the shoes outside of the context of photographs and in front of an image as a sculptural piece. The shoes suggest a symbolic gesture of our very own feet. The shoes are as an extension of the photographs that draws the spectator into the pictures and imbues feelings of confinement, which creates an overwhelming sense of realism. It is no longer just the man and building who are experiencing restriction, but now the viewer is coaxed into the experience of limitation that induces a moment of self-awareness. It expresses restriction as an immanent act of the mind. It is of our own internal psyche, self-conditioning and doing that such feelings and states arise.
The Airport that once would have been a hub of human mobility, a facilitator of movement and an emblem of freedom has been transformed into a symbol of prohibition. The industrial and rusty barbwire that coaxes the building appears as an aggressive, brutal and violent symbolic representation that vehemently evokes feelings of limitation.
One of the images depicts the inside of the dark Airport, however this view is obstructed from the barbwire that twists and curls in front. Here the barbwire is shown in it's full functional capacity, namely to deter life and keep people out. By doing this Barth, places the viewer in the a position of restraint, that beckons our curiosity and desire to move forward.
Furthermore,there is this sense of dehumanisation within the images, as the building lacks any humanly presence and the man in the wheelchair has his face consciously hidden and never revealed in great detail. The airport which once would have once been bustling with human life and traffic is now an eerie, industrial and apocalyptic space. Here there is a great emphasis placed on space within the images. Particularly with the image of the man in his wheelchair, placed at a large distance from the Airport and peering forward to this large scale building. There is nothing that surrounds him other than the concrete ground and an overwhelming void. Barth achieves this vastness by taking this photo from an angle that is low to the ground and shooting in an upwards direction. This elicits an overwhelming sense of emptiness and restriction on life that penetrates across the space.
As the building dominates the shot and becomes a locus of urban decay, disallowance and lifelessness. Not only is the building restricted, but also the man in the wheelchair. He's own body functions to convey this essential limitation. The wheelchair signals his own incapacity to move, his jacket appears heavy and prohibitive, and finally his feet placed in block shaped and hefty shoes. Only the laces of the shoes stick out from the top, as the derby shoes have been melted into a solid rubber block and become stuck in this rectangular form. His body is isolated, with only his arms and the aid of the wheelchair as an element of mobility and his sole hope to transcend these limitations. Despite all that is holding him back, he still manages to move forward by defeating his internal limitations which can viewed from a social and political level as well.
Deepti Barth's Transgression at L'Eclaireur Rue Hérold in Paris
Protagonist : Charis Theocharous
Garments and rubber block shoes : Carol Christian Poell
Post production : Sandra Schuck
Sound : Antonis Antoniou
Technical Support : Antonis Minas
In kind support : Cyprot National Guard & UNFICYP - United Nations Peacekeeping Force In Cyprus
Special thank you to :
Carol Christian Poell
Text by Hannah Nesbitt | S/TUDIO