The Eye of the Cyclops



Publisher: Kehrer Verlag

text by: Martina Dalpiaz


Ann Massal’s book looks like a diary, a collection, a magnification of what surrounds us every day, but observed from a different eye, the eye of the Cyclops. An essential investigation, which aims to recreate a connection with the instinct and intimacy of the human being.
Ann Massal’s work presents itself as a statement against the socio-cultural canons of beauty. In fact the years of work in the beauty industry have given the impetus to the birth of this project, in which she also describes a critique of the world of social media, where all the images have the appearance as their sole objective, but mainly they feed a process of standardization, which she defines as a systematic representation of multiples.
She opens a window towards uniqueness in its naturalness.
Without fear of being irreverent, the author uses organic images of sex, hair and fluids, which connect us with what is original, and is not embellished to be seen, but is represented in its substantiality and belongs to us in a characteristic way.
Not only the author seeks a return to the animal side of the human being, but she also pursues the acceptance of this intrinsic and natural characteristic that is now being lost.
She wants to bring back to their own-self all those daily activities that have now become ritualized, such as sex. These images are represented in its elementarity, without any superfluous and useless ornament.

The archive uses of erotic and non-erotic images which the author pragmatically modifies in an attempt to overcome the flatness of the photographic medium, trying to give them materiality. This book has in fact strongly manipulated, the physical presence is preponderant and the alterations that she implements through numerous modifying techniques, such as cutting, drawing, ripping, are handcrafted, again there is the need to concretize them, to give them body.
Starting from the cover itself, where each issue is a unique piece, the hole is the result of a punch of the authors.
The attempt for deconstruction that the author carries out in all her work could not be clearer, she does nothing but strip, disassemble, decompose reality from its superstructures, bringing it back to what is most primitive, our animal essentiality.
There is no more appropriate word to describe the investigation accomplished by Ann Massal, if not close. In fact, is a research conducted very closely, with the aim of bringing the viewer closer to reality and to their hedonistic nature.

A career started in the beauty industry gave Ann Massal the feeling that Plato’s take on beauty as truth was long dead. She subsequently decided to study photography to try to express her very own view. With similarities to the crazy world of Alice in Wonderland, Ann’s pictures are never expected. Using a vast array of techniques dripping, bleaching, cutting, rotting – she distorts images to offer us her outlook on beauty: ambiguous, sinful and always colorful.

Massal’s work has been exhibited throughout Korea in 2016  and was nominated in 2017 by JH Engström for Photopaper, a monographic issue of her work. She was also a finalist at the Helsinki 2018 Photo Festival. Her first book, The Eye of the Cyclops, was shortlisted for the Istanbul 2017 Dummy Award, the Kassel 2018 Dummy Award and will be published in April 2019 by Kehrer Verlag.

Copyright © Ann Massal and PHROOM, all rights reserved

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