‘Who hasn’t had the desire to be someone else for a while?’ asks Austrian photographer Klaus Pichler. His recent photo project ‘Just the Two of Us’ captures Austrians hidden behind the costume of their choice, on a very intimate level as the setting is their own home interior.
The Austrian born and bred photographer has been working on this project for more than two years, as he quickly realised that people were quite reluctant at the idea of letting a stranger into their home. It would seem that everyone has the desire to be someone else for a while, but only in a certain space, which, ultimately, says a lot about this project and people on a sociological dimension. There is something so intimate about revealing your own space, your own habits, that one could argue it can only be done if you cover your identity, so as to not be associated with it. Pichler’s series is an interesting rendition of how people step out of their own skin to create an alter ego/personae.
What then, is the motivation behind stepping out of one’s own skin? Pichler says that over the course of the shooting, he was able to see a pattern emerge; for a lot of people, dressing up is a way for them to cope with society’s pressures. Some had a boring or stressful job, or had issues in their everyday life. Either way, the act of dressing up allowed these people to inhabit a different world for while and feel more empowered. Pichler believes that costumes give people the excuse for a “temporary withdrawal from civil life.”
WARNING : if feeling blue, do not watch! Sam Houston’s tormented art tends to show us “fear in a handful of dust” and although his style is positively unique, he would have been, without a doubt, good mates with T.S. Eliot and all this lot. With his portrayals of decaying houses and obscure silhouettes that he describes as “our understanding of home”, Houston surely would be a perfect candidate to illustrate any 20th century English literature book. For the moment, though, he has only just graduated in Fine Art at Falmouth University and has already contributed to exhibitions in Manchester, London and more recently in the lovely city of Edinburgh for the Edinburgh Art Fair. He has now returned to Cheshire, where he is preparing for future exhibitions.
Working mostly with earthly, autumnal colors that he skillfully controls to create a vintage feel, his paintings all seem to express his intimate concern with the fragility of roots. A major part of his art consists of depicting human shadows trying to hold on to some kind of connection with their fading backgrounds. Somber houses falling apart, shadows of trees and mountains or desolate roads act as symbols for a past that is difficult to hold on to because unreachable.
His paintings immediately catch the eye as the mysterious protagonists tell a story. Even though they seem awkwardly out of place, they do stir feelings of familiarity – and not necessarily because we are all depressed fools witnessing the falling apart of everything that seemed solid in their lives. Somehow Houston successfully beautifies the sadness of his work and allows the viewer to warm up to it. “Somehow”, or simply because he is incredibly talented.