Shia Conlon: Weekend

Edition: 1/5 + 2AP
Year: 2022
Dimensions: 104 x 3.5 x 89 cm (P x K x L)
Framed (Black floating frame, 1,5cm)

Location: Photographic Gallery Hippolyte (Yrjönkatu 8-10, 00120 Helsinki)

From the exhibition I’ll Be Your Mirror
Photographic Gallery Hippolyte

The photographs in Shia Conlon’s I’ll Be Your Mirror are a selection of works from multiple projects spanning five years made in collaboration with the artist’s queer and trans community. The exhibition’s title is named after Nan Goldin’s 1996 publication and pays homage to an influential queer elder while forming a bridge between queer pasts and the present moment. The title’s meaning, and what it references, highlight the specific importance of photography within queer communities as a tool for representing, dreaming, and archiving—a tool for unearthing histories as much as witnessing them unfold now.

Alongside themes of representation and consent, there is also the question of the queer body and its relationship to power. In some images, people appear to be struggling with one another, wrestling, tied together, or running away. Over time, different attitudes to power emerge. Softer landscapes appear and we see joy filtering in, when a person hangs childlike from a tree or is touched by the warm summer sun on their new chest. The exhibition shows moments of care, liberation, love, and lust.

There are nods to the transformative power of sex, kink, love, and of being trans in general. When so much of the media highlights moments of trauma and pain for the trans community, I’ll Be Your Mirror attempts to show a different reality. One where being trans is something to celebrate, something mundane, beautiful, mysterious, hot, fun, silent, and something undefinable.