No Mermaids Without Ghosts: Jennipur Jane at the Alchemy of Art

Upon entering the multi-room gallery, visitors first encounter Rituals. The space resembles a Victorian waiting room, with black-painted walls, candlelight wall sconces, and an intricate ottoman. The exhibit’s black-and-white photography collection is displayed around the room similarly to how a household would display family portraits and artwork. The elaborate, mismatched frames add to the exhibit’s immersive experience, where visitors step into a private, sacred space. Each photograph further adds to the collection’s line of storytelling and shares similar visual elements. Jane plays with the concept of light and shadow to portray eerie images of desolate, haunted places, and the in-between spaces of life and death.

“The Faces of Toil and Trouble” depicts a woman wearing a black dress wrapped in tulle fabric. The woman’s face appears doubled in the photograph, first with her chin tucked in with her eyes closed in a demure expression. Above the first iteration of her face, she appears with her head tilted upwards, her lips parted and eyebrows raised, clearly experiencing bliss with eyes still closed. The analogous expressions personify the characters of toil and trouble, as per the piece’s title.

“The Window” and “The Ghost Of Her” have the same subject, a woman wearing a white chiffon gown as she stands in front of a window. In “The Ghost of Her,” light appears to shine through the woman’s figure, suggesting she’s not entirely physically there and is instead a spirit. The woman’s translucency is not present in “The Window,” but rather the woman’s shadowed figure stares out the window, which emanates a strong, blinding light. The window serves as a passageway between the physical and metaphysical realm and the woman appears to journey between both places in this set of photographs.


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