Sheep are a fixture in fields and nursery rhymes - rarely in contemporary art.
But this series of photographs by award-winning photographer Davide Luciano, woolly beasts meet people in a series of bizarre portraits and carefully staged scenes that are remarkably never Photoshopped.
Luciano has just concluded an exhibition of his work in Toronto on the back of being featured in publications including Le Monde, Vanity Fair Italia and The Telegraph.
“In a world desperate for uniqueness and originality, the greatest irony may be that we ultimately succumb to following the herd,” said Luciano, filling us in on the ideas behind the project via email.
“Whether we like it or not, we the ‘sheeple’ have become fervent disciples of a globalized economy. This large-scale photographic series includes 23 intimate and introspective portraits of ‘sheeple’. Behind every mask lies a personal truth.”
The Montreal-based photographer and filmmaker has a history of making large-scale, photographic prints with a cinematic influence and a satirical edge.
“The six scenes depict people unable to think for themselves, allowing the influences of different forms of media to undermine their own identity, wandering mindlessly in herds, like sheep.”
So how do you go about making images like these? After, Luciano explains, a three hour transformation in which a special effects make-up artist creates prosthetic masks.
“The work is large scale and printed on high gloss facemount, so the reaction is pretty immediate as people walk into the gallery. In general it has been very positive but some people are also disturbed by the work.”
That’s hardly surprising, but what do you make of it? A passionate critique or just woolly thinking?