Laisvydė Šalčiūtė

The (Melo)dramas. Hysteria, 2015

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 Solo exhibition The (Melo)dramas. Hysteria, 2015 

The (Melo)dramas. Hysteria series is the main and leading practical work of my doctoral studies. One of the main intents of this series was to alert the audience about the excess of information and images that surrounds us in our mundane life and is likely to cause some disturbance and to link this with the iconography of hysteria disease symptoms compilation created by the pioneer of neurology Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–1893).  

The deceptiveness of the images in the compendium of hysteria symptoms, to my mind, relates with the deceptiveness of today’s mediated images. While exploring these images, I compare the abuse and violence Charcot applied to his female patients with the elaborate coercion of the contemporary mediated images. The link between beauty and repression in the body of an individual of contemporary society is one such example. 

I have compared the images of hysteria iconography and the contemporary mediated body images with the Belle Époque aesthetics that being the period when hysteria was ‘invented’.  I tried to imagine and to bring out through my artwork the possibility of impulses turning into symptoms of a work of art. In this series, I intentionally imitate the aesthetic style of the Belle Époque. I linked the images of the body from different epochs to emphasise the excessiveness and abundance in the broad sense. 

The series (Melo)dramas. Hysteria presents my world vision spelled out in the art’s language of simulacra, the reality of the present and the pastiche of the stereotyped past. I deploy these formal means in order to create strange and enigmatic images. These paradoxical relationships of images and texts, their internal contradictions are supposed to re-enact  situations that befall to individuals today, yet are increasingly difficult to grasp and unrepresentative of the authentic experiences of our own. The contemporary visuality is determined by the massive dissemination of images and by the growing, and, indeed, engulfing mode of image consumption. Therefore, I deploy artistic means of expression to bear witness to the contemporary ways of seeing and perceiving and look for ways to find a fresh polemic angle to these problems. I try to dig out the deep meanings hidden behind the surface impression and to generate new ones. In other words, attacked by the torrents of everyday images, I struggle to master ‘the art of swimming’, sometimes even against the current.