Totem IV, 2015 | Gareth McConnell

Open edition
29.7 x 42 cm / 11.7 x 16.5 in
Inkjet print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth 305 gsm
Signed and titled on reverse
Shipped tracked and signed worldwide

‘McConnell’s experiments in monochrome are equally beguiling as visual counterpoint. His portrait series of Ibizan clubbers, long in the season, was reworked for his book Sex, Drugs & Magick (Book II), published in 2014. For this project, McConnell photocopied the original chromogenic prints. The subsequent portraits have a contrast density and a sooty patination that hum with obfuscation, so, at one remove, you see the devotion to the cause more clearly; haggardness is etched across taut skin and lowered eyelids.

All of McConnell’s photographs articulate the isolation of the individual in the midst of mass communion. They persistently ask, what happens to the self in the collective will to enter the utopian space of the fantastic? McConnell describes it as “the delirious but bittersweet pleasure of losing oneself to hedonism from the view of someone who saw it from within.” These images suggest that the utopian urge is illusory, a phantasmagoria that flashes past the eyes as the hit reaches the brain.’

Alistair O’Neill, Aperture 241, 2020