Plats, Plats, Plats
March 25 - April 29, 2017
There is no day in which he does not think about the hair. To cut them a lot or a little, to let them grow, not to cut them anymore, to get a zero shave, to shave his head forever. The final solution does not exist. He is condemned to go back ceaselessly on the issue. Always so, hair slave, until he dies, maybe. And even later. Didn’t he read that... that hair grows even... or was it the nails?
History of Hair
I imagine entering Plats, Plats, Plats, Melissa Hopson’s first solo show in New York, as I would enter a hair salon I am not familiar with, and yet, I am eager to engage in the countless possibilities I would be confronted with. I would describe how I want to look and, ultimately, who I want to be. I can sense the tension for what is about to happen: an extremely intimate experience staged in a public space, which is transcending reality’s limits through its mirroring reflections.
Right upon the entrance, I review the hairstyles in front of me. Straight or wavy, extended or choppy short. Is it a subtle trim or a radical transformation what I am aiming to? Would a new hair color or length make a difference in the way the others look at me? Would I feel different if I were blonde?
Once I adjust my body on one of the soft and embracing chairs, I am ready for the ritual that is about to begin. I have to focus, keep my feet perfectly steady, look straight and not tilt my head to the side as directed, or I may risk missing the perfect symmetry. The precarious balance between voicing my inner vision and the hair stylist’s translation may result in unpredictable outcomes.
While the cutting takes place, I can stare at myself in the mirror in front of me. Or maybe not. Perhaps the oval glossy surface that separates me from the surrounding space could be the tinted door to a parallel dimension, where I get lost in my thoughts and I fantasize about my new groomed identity. My life as a red hair bobbed woman, or with a shiny black kinky mane. A whole new set of color combinations would open up my clothing style.
At last comes the ritual of the hooded hair dryer. I can finally relax, close my eyes and enjoy this moment of privacy into a warm dwelling, where my head is secured from the view of the others and I can attempt a dreamy smile, imagining how my haircut will look like, once the drying process will be completed. I could even allow myself to shed a tear or two, recalling my beloved tufts that have succumbed to the ground and were swept away as if they were useless debris, instead of precious oracles of time.
Similar to a haircut, constant engagement with an object is a plight that an artist is always faced with. Hopson’s beauty parlor - which echoes and expands the history of Unisex Salon exhibition space - is a sculptural metaphor where each element is thoughtfully considered in reference to its original function and confronted with the limits of its form. Plats, Plats, Plats broaches ideas of transformation between site, sculptural process, and the human body.
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