Marketing is a common part of our everyday life. Since the establishment of early trade relationships in society, we have learned to present ourselves at the highest value. We still have to ‘market’ ourselves nowadays: when we apply for school or a job (we have to prove our worth at any cost). Food at your local grocery store also participates the competition, and only that, that reaches to the highest standards becomes part of exposition.
I disagree with and at the same time admire the power, that marketing has on our common sense and the way we perceive objects; the way that marketing strategies are designed to read the target audience’s wishes fascinates me. I wanted to learn all about it.
Marketing is all about creating the unique experience, that stays long in the consumer’s mind. It aims at persuading the buyer, that this is ‘once in a lifetime deal’. At the same time it is based on patterns.
Andy Warhol depicted this process by creating a mass-produced art pieces (that was revolutionary at that time). Andreas Gursky, on the other hand, puts that almost ornamental pattern, straight into your face. His photos swallow the viewer with its infinite details.
I look at the theme of marketing from the point of view of a hypnotized customer. The one that is like a fly attracted to the light; the customer that is in the same way attracted to the product. This is a very powerful force, that is able to completely blind a person.
My series started with an observation of the problem of choice we have nowadays. Whereas it seems that our options are endless, we are in fact, just tricked by variety of labels, that promote the same substance. When you choose between ‘cola’ and ‘fanta’ – it’s ultimately sweet water produced by Coca Cola brand.
The first work is called The Problem of Choice. It depicts the average woman anxious at the drink isle. I was inspired with the part of the movie ’99 Francs’.
Later I decided to dig dipper and play with the parallels between marketing of a product and marketing of the person. This theme basically starts with high-end modeling and luxury goods and ends with your next neighbor in the snack aisle of your local grocery store.
My friends (who so generously volunteered their time and effort) and I organized a photo shoot that would depict a ‘person on display – raw’. We brought a blown-up pool to the photo studio and filled it with 200 kg (440 lb) of ice. I was trying to stylize the models and their positions similar to those in the raw meat and fish section.
Two most adventurous models I ever had were Alina and Olga Balashova. Olga was the first art curator, who picked my artwork, piled among other things in corridors of the Art Academy, for the huge contemporary art show in Kiev. It happened so that we started talking about art and then I just asked if she would want to volunteer as a model for these new series, I am working on. The fact she agreed was a pretty big deal for me at the time! And looking back at those photos I still can not appreciate it enough!
For the photo of ‘meat’ I actually splashed that red-colored acrylic paint all over the model.
Couple of the models didn’t show up. My friend had to drive my old manual stick ford car (that was lacking right mirror and would die every time you stop) to pick up the substitution. These were two guys whom she saw for the first time. They made their way back to the studio and brought a bottle of vodka. I also had to substitute one model. The ice was beyond cold. I can not admire enough the dedication with which Alina and Olga laid in that pool, waiting for our next command.
Final pics looked like this:
And here are the paintings that came out of them:
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