UNDER THE INFLUENCE
The two works included by Dominic Hawgood are taken from his series ‘Under the Influence’, which derives from the artist’s observations of Christian worship in evangelical African churches around London. The series explores certain religious rituals, including exorcisms conducted via live satellite sermons, which are then broadcast on giant screens, transforming places of worship into filmed and televised spectacles. The artist employs photography, lighting design, digital image manipulation and CGI to create images that skirtthe boundary between staging and reality, which flaunttheir collapsing of the disparity between factual and fake. The results are perfectly distilled moments , removed from a contextual narrative , which recall high specluxury advertising and film noir more than they do documentary. There is confusion and ambiguityin how each image comes to be realised; are they well-timed observations , to carefully composed scenes.
The light boxes and vinyl that are Hawgood’s medium further highlight the ease at which the rituals of worship can be compared to the rituals of consumption. By utilising the mechanisms of advertising to frame these religious gestures and props, Hawgood alludes to the mechanisms pf power that underpin systems beliefand desire - a hierarchy of influence established to convince an audienceto aspire to a greater truth. In these works, belief becomes a product to be sold and bought, like designed goods that promise the fulfilment of social ambition. This rhetoric of mass consumption is embedded through he detail and precision of the works’ installation, mimicking an industry standard of precision.
Ultimately Hawgood’s work probes at a the edges of human behaviour in a technologies, branded world; where theatricality and performance are accepted as truth, and transformed into reality through a force of will. We want so badly to believe that we accept what we know to be false.
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, DOMINIC HAWGOOD, 2016