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Metamorphosis of Failure

February 9, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Smack Mellon
92 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States
(718) 834-8761

Smack Mellon is pleased to announce two solo exhibitions, Bonnie Collura: Prince and Rachelle Mozman Solano: Metamorphosis of Failure, opening concurrently on January 12, 2019. Both artists create installations that challenge male-dominated narratives, portraying their male subjects from their positions of creative prowess. Bonnie Collura constructs several versions of a male surrogate out of disparate materials, flipping the gender roles of artist/creator and model/muse. Rachelle Mozman Solano takes on iconic artist Paul Gauguin by casting him as a self-doubting disappointment in his own biographical story, seeking affirmation from the ambivalent women who he aims to dominate. By putting forth alternative narratives, Collura and Mozman Solano envision women as empowered protagonists of their own storylines.

For her film and photography project Metamorphosis of Failure, Mozman Solano takes as a point of departure the Museum of Modern Art’s 2014 exhibition of Paul Gauguin’s works on paper that he made in the South Pacific toward the end of his life. Mozman Solano was impressed by the mythology perpetuated by the museumography and curation of the exhibition, particularly the narrative about Gauguin’s work based on identity transformation during his immersion in Polynesian culture. Rather than rehashing this account, Mozman Solano instead explores the history of Gauguin’s mixed background (French and Peruvian). The work probes Gauguin’s obsession with racial purity, which she speculates may have stemmed from his multiethnic identity and created a conflicted sense of self. Mozman Solano’s film is based on fantasies of Gauguin’s five-week stay in Panama before his journey to Polynesia. The story satirically examines his search for subjects, “primitive” life, and “pure” racial identity as described in letters to his wife and his book Noa Noa, within a diverse Caribbean topography. In her project, Mozman Solano playfully reimagines the stories of the women who were Gauguin’s muses. She cleverly empowers these women by imagining an alternative narrative that exposes Gauguin’s internal conflict and the desires that he projected onto his subjects.