A KALTBLUT exclusive. Photography by Kim Lang. Model is Jordan Charles signed at Nii Agency. Make-Up by Valérie Reding. Manifesto: “For this body of work, I focussed on combining the strengths of my personal work with the strengths of my collaborator, Valérie Reding. Being a visual artist, my work often evolves around the idea of self- awareness and psychological identities. Usually working with strong colours to underline these ideas, and taking the subject from reality into a surreal, unnatural context. By merging these values with the Make-Up and Performance Artist Valérie’s own focus on performativity and gender identities, the result speaks about the idea of addition through life. The subject, Jordan, (Shot by Tim Walker for i-D, Nick Knight, part of hyped London agency Nii…) by being an albino black model represents the human as canvas in its most pure and untouched form. The idea behind this body of work is to view the pure and seeing him evolve through a process of addition, questioning the ideas of the true self and in uences through life and society. Shot on LomoChrome Turquoise XR100-400, Ilford and Digital to add an evolving notion of character and personality to the nal piece. Shooting in off colours, and black and white also adds a notion of surprise. It creates the setting around the visual and gives a chance to set the subject into it’s on time, and world beyond the reality it was shot in.”
A psychological struggle at the heart of the human condition is the driving, unifying force behind the work of London-based photographer Kim Lang:the real, essential self underneath the socially approved mask shaped by Western standards of beauty, behaviour and belief.
That struggle can take various shapes, such as individuals’ self-assertion in ‘This Is Us’ for Kaltblut Magazine (October 2016), or an inner darkness thinly disguised by outward sanity, in the tradition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in ‘The Other Inside’ (HUF Magazine, September 2016). Stories around fear and around the ‘Other’ are a recurring theme, whether that Other resides within one’s self or outside it: zombies, gorgons, shamans and temptresses all have their place in the universe of Lang’s images.
His work is inherently cinematic. Images unnaturally drained of colour except for carefully placed splatters alternate with a popping, neon palette reminiscent of the seedy nightlife of big cities – his ‘Life on Repeat’ shoot for Unblock Magazine (October 2016) for instance, easily compares to the colours and lighting of Bangkok in Only God Forgives. Often, a sinister, tragic story seems about to break through the immaculate surface of the image.
Lang graduated from the London College of Fashion with a degree in Fashion Photography in 2013 but also sees theatre and films, by the likes of Nicholas Winding Refn and Zac Snyder, as major influences on his art. His visual exploration of the battle between the real and the visible is born from his persistent engagement with the performance of the self for an audience.
The images are difficult to pin down: at first so sharp they must be real, they withdraw in the next moment to the realm of the impossible and imaginary. Yet, rather than providing a comfortable distance from what is being shown, they invite the viewer to start relating to the stories, questioning their own accepted truths. Like a good horror film, they are disturbing because they invite you to peer into the abyss of the human soul, and the a
Valérie Reding works at the intersection of performance, dance, photography and video and uses her body to explore the potential of empathy, vulnerability and transformation in order to question norms and stereotypes of gender, sexualities and identities. She had been trained in ballet and contemporary dance and received a BA in Media Arts at the Zürich University of the Arts as well as at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. Her works have been shown in galleries such as Commonwealth & Council (LA), FORMA Arts Contemporains (Lausanne) or LAC (Vevey) and she has performed at festivals like zürich moves! (Zurich), The Queer Biennial II (LA), La Fête du Slip (Lausanne) as well as Deep Trash by CUNTemporary (London).