As in Water Face Reflects Face
This current corpus of works by David Adika is called “As in Water Face Reflects Face” and includes 46 photographs, all of the same dimensions (48 x 32 cm / 19 x 12.5 inch) that were taken in the last year.
The exhibition’s title “As in Water Face Reflects Face” is from the Book of Proverbs, 27: 19 and can be seen as the initial key to understanding the exhibition and its meaning. The phrase continues with “So a Man’s Heart Reveals the Man”.
The title of this exhibition, as the exhibition itself, can be read as an allegory: When a “face” looks into “water face”, referring to the watery-fluids found in another person’s eye, one sees not only the other’s face, but his own face as is reflected in the other’s eye. This issue of the “reflexive gaze” is present both in the title and the exhibition. These still-lives are an allegory that sheds light on the “practical” process of photography so that additional factors, such as moral, cultural, artistic, emotional, etc. are referred to in the image. The photographed objects, which are decorative, copper tableware taken from Adika’s day-to-day life, are instilled with his own biography. Adika’s camera, which is accustomed to “perception and sensation” of everyday circumstances, attempts to capture these copper vessels in their glory: elegant, upright, stoic and photogenic.|
By employing the copper objects and the photographic “set”, a division is created and emotions are put aside. The sensitive subject is parted from the object. The objects do not serve as agents or reflections of human emotions; they do not feel instead of the viewer, but rather function as a partition between the artistic action and matters “beyond the object”. The effect of this partition is achieved by a very clean, slim, severe and precise form of photography. Feelings of alienation and defamiliarization arise, and these exist parallel to the sense of “fear” of them.
The necessity to put emotions aside during the photographing process can testify to the strength of these photographs. The restrained view emphasizes the involvement and belonging to the origin of these objects. Adika is interested in looking beyond the object, and beyond the practices that occur before the camera and on the photographic set, by turning to the ideological, conceptual, associative and photographic space. During the process of photographing the objects, the photographic set is transformed into an arena, a playground, a chess board. The rationale behind the domestic display is expanded to playfulness in front of the camera, to a performance before the photographic set, and finally to installation of the work in the space.
Observing the object, photographing it and sublimating it not only contribute to the feeling of defamiliarization of the objects and to their playfulness, but also ask to instill the photographs with more layered meanings that deal with aesthetic, cultural, moral, emotional issues.
Adika’s viewpoint enables him to self-reflect. The different gazes and compositions are an outcome of inward observation. The reflexive gaze does not occur only as a mirror reflection, but also in the portrayal of the gazes between one object and another, and the shadows cast on the wall (as an expression of an inward observation). The set – a table and the objects – functions like a field of gazes and Adika is located in their meeting point: the implying gazes of the shiny objects and the shadows suggest something on the verge of seduction or withdrawal. The natural light coming in through the window all year round caresses the dust that has accumulated on the object or enhances the shininess of the objects once they have been scrubbed and polished.
In this corpus of work Adika continues to examine and explore issues such as tensions between the original and the fake, matters of taste, beauty, color, class, language etc.