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Elegies of Manumission
Max de Esteban’s new monograph, Elegies of Manumission, presents contemporary portraiture imbued with romantic old-world lighting. The portraits serve as jumping-off points to explore intellectual and philosophical musings about identity and image amidst the political, social, economic and spiritual challenges of today's world.
Elegy I: Vertige
Elegy II: Private Utopias
Most artists are commercially unsuccessful, barely surviving with their work. This is the case of all the artists portrayed in this project. They openly express sentiments of marginality and neglect.
But more profound is their loss of faith in art as a vehicle for society’s progress. Having abandoned ambitions of social change, most artists and utopians today have retreated into the sphere of individuality in constructing forms of rebellion against prevalent values and idols. Unconventional dressing codes, tattooing, piercing and other post-romantic symbology become essential elements of their response..."
Elegy III: On the uncertainty of being
The 28 portraits were shot to avoid referential interference, as a means to escape from the imagery that positions youth as the center point of our most private desires...
Today the private sphere has disappeared not only by a generalized acceptance of Big Brother in our social space, but also by the enthusiastic embracement of the public diffusion of our intimate lives. By facilitating the means for the construction of imaginary identities and the exposure of our private dreams and fantasies, our society has developed radically new vehicles to avoid reality and hide its political significance."
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