Untitled (from the series "Happily Ever After"), 2007

exhibition catalog (3,1 MB)

Carlos Aires

Carlos Aires’ photographic depictions draw attention to the situation of social fringe groups whose lives continue to occupy a marginal region of media consciousness. The artist exaggerates the situation of those depicted, giving rise to a romantic component reaching beyond the complications of everyday life and the individual psychical realities of the subjects. Aires always succeeds in touching on aspects of the uncanny, a phenomenon which Freud interprets as resulting from repressed experiences and complexes in the unconscious. In this context Freud makes reference to the renewed flaring up of infantile worldviews, which adults believe that they have overcome, but which nonetheless continue to arise in recurring images of threatening and anxiety-laden situations. Often Aires provides an ironic commentary on these images, for instance when he portrays people of small stature in torero costumes in order to awaken memories of the beings encountered in fables and myths. From an art-historical perspective he is tying in with the work of the American photographer Diane Arbus, who in the first half of the twentieth century confronted the media public with portraits of ‚freaks‘, midgets and transgender persons. Regardless of whether these images are aesthetically transfigured or frightening – as in the picture of a South American youth afflicted by hypertrichosis, which culturally makes reference to the ‚werewolf‘ myth – Aires is attempting to draw attention to existences beyond any and every normality and to demonstrate a heightened consciousness for life practices that stand in perpetual conflict with the psychical realities of everyday life.