Gombos Atila, a Romanian artist, based in Timisoara (a city located in the western side of Romania) approaches Low-Key photography to it’s highest extent.
Combining the human figures which are “hidden”, achromatic, while only some parts on the body are painted in red manages to suggest subtle social messages, in this case, a flawless human emotion: love and it’s distortion.
This work has originated from the artist’s sincere interest in people and their souls, their feelings and their nature, his own existence, his purpose.
On the other hand, as a young man concerned with visual arts and professionally involved in them, I found with unpleasant surprise the degraded image status in the world of today. The status of the image in post-modernity is, paradoxically, almost outspoken.
The image has largely lost its character of representation (in relation to an original from which to claim it), suffering in this way a true ontological collapse. It began to count more and more only superficially, as a value of appearance and, as such, as an exchange value. If in the antiquity the image exerts a fascination on the viewer by what it represents (according to a privileged ontological status), postmodernity only gives us images that fascinate only in relation to the principle of their utility.”
The solution seemed to us to be found at the confluence of these two very personal, but also significant, cultural, artistic and anthropological concerns. Although it is not proposed in this paper to test the metaphysical valences of the image (checking whether or not it may surprise a spiritual reality), we tested the possibility that, using an appropriate technique (the low-key photograph), the purely iconic value of the image (signifier or signal) regains a symbol value, thus opening a possible path to transcendence.
Choosing the technical way of photographing in the form of tryptic was not her fortuitous. First of all, it is known that the tryptic is an artistic rendering of the sacred pictorial art and consists of joining and bringing together three different hypostases of the same sacred symbol. Filling in three ways the three photographic hypostases linked together by a common theme creates a continuum of ideas suggesting the instability and fragility of evolution by transformation from one stage to the next, but also the involution or regression of stages consumed prematurely or insufficiently consolidated.
Secondly, introducing the novelty element by triplicate tripling is meant to emphasize not only the horizons of transformations but also their vertical dimension, which brings us back to the issue of spiritual evolution and transcendence.
Lastly, overlapping the three trips creates a grid, networking effect, giving the entire imaging ensemble a surplus of emotional strength and visual power effect, amplifying the impact on the viewer-interpreter.
Equally motivated and consequently well-grounded in the Work from our perspective, but with solid theoretical references, were the choice of the reference colors (red, black, blue) with which the models were painted (an iconic tradition on which we insisted in particular), then the persistence of the object of the camera on the face and hands (emphasizing the importance of these cadres in the history of the arts), the relation to the third and the third as true numerological mythologies, the choice of the low-key photographic type and the reconstruction of a spiritual destiny and metaphysical reverberations for the images proposed as an emblem of the precariousness, superficiality and the dramatism of the dissolution of sentimental-emotional bonds in the contemporary world.
Even if he does not propose solutions for this cultural-spiritual crisis, the present paper wants to be a loyalist columnist in the empathic and original way from the perspective of the chosen photographic techniques of this process that profoundly marks any man of the post-factual liquid society today.
“The Prisoner Inside Your Soul”, by Atila Gombos, 2017