Real World or Illusion? Boris Camaca's Room of Solitude at NiCOLETTi Gallery

Monday 26th October, 2020

By Zhangyu Wang

Boris Camaca is good at telling stories through his photographs. For Masses Magazine in 2019, Camaca created a body of work moving from childhood, to school, to work, and eventually to death. Every photograph is a lifetime retrospective, and is very illuminating. This interest in narrative is present in Room of Solitude, Camaca’s first solo exhibition, presented during this strange and special period. The show lasts from 19th September to 31st October at NiCOLETTi Gallery, and presents pieces in multi-material frames and lightboxes. Displayed in collaboration with fellow artists Hugo Laporte and Salome Poulodenny's sculptures referring directly to design and domesticity, the room is given an eerie atmosphere.

In Camaca’s Room of Solitude series, the artist shot seven portraits of friends, family and himself in seven different private scenes, in his own home as well as in rooms elsewhere. In this new series, Boris maintains his unique photographic style, with its greasy-sweet high saturation and humorous narratives. The difference, however, is that these new works are more personal. Through semiotic body language and grandiose scenes, he’s created an imaginative space in which to explore the intimate and fragile relationships between people, and between people and the natural landscape.

Whether at home or a hotel room, the background colour is exceptionally bright, and the person in front of the camera behaves strangely and ostentatiously. In sharp contrast to this are his landscape works. Compared with his portraiture, Camaca’s landscape photos look quite realistic. However, they are not real at all. Camaca has constructed these 'natural' landscapes, making them fake. Yet they have a realism to them because they haven’t been over-saturated; while the real people and real houses in these images have undergone this process of increased saturation and seem to be illusory. In addition, the colour oozes from the photograph and wraps itself around the frame as if it were alive. Hugo Laporte’s and Salome Poulodenny’s furniture pieces enter into a dialogue in the exhibition space. The viewer is inducted into a trancelike atmosphere. Does the absurdity of lockdown remain? What did I do during those days of increased solitude? Was I removed from society’s gaze? This Room of Solitude narrates the artist's story over the past few months, guiding the audience to recall and reflect on their own pathway through this time.

Room of Solitude is on show at NiCOLETTi Gallery, London, until 31st October