Harold Offeh and Eloise Calandre's series of performances 'In Your Face I See Myself' were streamed live at SHOWstudio as part of our In Your Face season of events are now available to view on SHOWstudio.com.
The first, 'Smile', is a re-staging of one of Offeh's earlier pieces in which he maintains a smile for as long as physically possible. Streamed in harshly graded black and white, the performance is reminiscent of a Warholian examination of this exterior expression. As time moves on, the smile becomes a trace of itself, the physical strain on the facial muscles becomes apparent and it is no longer an indication of happiness. The startling alterations in Offeh's face throughout the duration of the piece force the viewer to contemplate their associations with the captured smile and their relation to it. From the utter vacuity of a practiced, camera oriented smile to the snapshop image fit for a private diary, Offeh's piece probes both the pictorial surface, and the psychology of his portrait.
The second, visually arresting performance sees Calandres's motionless face used as a screen for a re projection of her face. Simultaneously moving and stationery, the effect is a baffling image where her features are changed and distorted. Continuing the exploration into the capabilities of portraiture this piece challenges the idea of a fixed sense of self.
For the final performance, Offeh creates an additional piece to his already critically acclaimed 'Covers' series. In 'Covers' Offeh creates iconic album covers by staging them as durational performances, and casting himself as the main subject. Previous pieces in the series have seen Offeh as Grace Jones on Island Life, The Ohio Players, Honey and Funkadelic's Maggot Brain, and now we see his appropriation of the cover of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.
This cover featured '3ball Charlie', a freakshow performer who worked the sideshows of carnivals. Charlie would stuff a tennis ball, a golf ball and a billiard ball in his mouth whilst whistling a tune, juggling and balancing on top of several other balls. By using the primary mediums of popular culture- photography and video, Offeh and Calandre unravel complex ideas of race, identity and desire.