Anderson & Low
Rogaland Teater, Stavanger
In connection to the premiere of Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt", Rogaland Teater also opened an exhibition by Anderson & Low. The exhibition contains photographs of asian youngsters dressed as manga heroes.
The photographs are flawless and colourful, and could be commercial posters for the next manga movie or computer game. They are so perfect they seem like computer made, synthetical. But they are not. These are ordinary urban asian youngsters dressed as they usually are. In stead of, or in addition to, living their alternative lives as avatars in a computer games, they are living their lives as superheroes in the ordinary world. This could be confusing for us, but probably even more for them. The artists bring this confusion to a climax, by photographing the protagonists in neutral surroundings, with styling and makeup removing all signs of normality. It is impossible to understand whether the figures are in your reality or in some alternative reality. Maybe they exist in both? Or in none?
The exhibition is curated as related to the theatre play currently showed in the main hall, "Peer Gynt" by Henrik Ibsen. Extremely concentrated, the moral of the play is "Be true to yourself!" or "Be yourself!". My first thought is that the photographed youngsters are not themselves, in their dressing they want to be someone else. But are they really? Maybe they actually dress like they feel like, maybe this is exactly how they are? Who are we to claim that "Hey, you are not dressed like yourself!"? Why can we not let them act and dress as they like? Why can we not just let Peer Gynt be himself, the womanizer and adventurer afraid of commitment? Do we have the right to shape the asian youngsters or Peer Gynt into something WE consider normal and decent?