Emirati artist Lamya Gargash, representative of the inaugural UAE Pavilion during the 2009 Venice Biennale, unveils a new body of work that addresses societal notions of beauty, intimate perceptions of self and identity through a portrait series at The Third Line.
Influenced by such artists as Cindy Sherman, the photographs aspire to raise challenging and important questions about self-reflection and criticism in relevance to media representation of body image and beauty standards in today's society.
Through the Looking Glass investigates how we constantly view ourselves in comparison to an ever-elusive standard, prompted by the constant bombardment of media imagery dictating 'how we should look.' Minor defects become drastic, resulting in even more drastic measures undertaken to reach that ideal standard of beauty. Our self-perception, and subsequently our identity, becomes indistinct; as if viewing ourselves through a distorted looking glass.
The photographic series comprises of diptychs, with one panel depicting a portrait of the subject as seen by the world, and an opposing panel depicting the subject as seen through their mind's eye. The project which has taken close to two years to complete, was facilitated by the use of artificial prosthetics; slight imperfections, which are accentuated and most times magnified, to a scale equivalent to that haunting mental image of self-judgment. The viewer is allowed into the photographed subject's subconscious, sharing their most confidential vulnerabilities and insecurities.
According to Gargash this exhibition is "an extension of constant self-critique and perpetual state of anxiousness over attaining perfection."
The Third Line Website
Please click here for a Culturekiosque art review of the Cindy Sherman retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.