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Insomnia #1

Payes has undoubtedly made the leap into a new field of aesthetic. Her work has seen a significant shift from portraiture to multi-media installations and the creating of alternate realities. Her multimedia installation, Insomnia # 01 (2007), an 8 LCD screen installation, is an extension of her still photography. Her photographs are morphed and come to life. The key image featured in this work is a hybrid between a set of peeping eyes and a dark, ambiguous form. This image is repeated on four fixed screens, with additional sliding screens showing fragments of the face contorting and animating. A face melts across the multiple screens and dissolves into a void. It is a slow and dark metamorphosis. Like a hallucinatory vision, we see multiple transformative states of being. It is a languid and slippery existence. Soft, but hard. The contrast between the gentle gaze and the dark form evokes a strange new crossbreed. Payes here inserts the familiar into a somewhat surrealist territory. There appears to be two worlds colliding between a dream and sensory experience. The face appears afraid of seeing, and knowing shielding behind the hardened form.

Standing before Insomnia # 01 is more a cathartic than unsettling. There is something confronting, yet familiar about Payes’ iconography. The blinking eye watches us, and at the same time, we are confronted by our own stare, forcing us to look inwards at ourselves. Each screen individually renders a slow decaying and rebuilding of flesh and light. The work is at times extremely ambiguous and challenges our visual awareness. There exists at the same time both a sense of re-birth and a dark encounter, but we are not privy to the impending aftermath. Through this ambiguity, the viewer feels compelled to stare, and to try to comprehend something that they hadn’t understood just a moment before. Payes’ morphing images do not move quickly, and the viewer is not asked to move quickly. If you blink, you will miss it. It is difficult to stand still in a fast world but Payes' work forces you to stop and to look, with open and closed eyes.


Insomnia #1

Sonia Payes

Artwork Details

Sonia Payes
Insomnia #1
Created date:
Screen installation

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