by D. Dominick Lombardi
Start with cartoon characters, add a little S & M, a cup of fetishism and a bucket full of small cell phone charms and children’s stickers, then stir in a mood of domination and you have the fabulously fun work of FC SOFIA. FC SOFIA, which is comprised of the French-based duo of Frederic and Catherine Sofia, captivated this reviewer with a very slick read on the sensationalism and sexualizing of contemporary aesthetics.
Anchoring the installation are four wall-mounted, brightly colored masks that suggest kinky and coarse dominations. The masks, which are oversized and simplified forms of what looks to be small-eared aardvarks and big-eared mice also have a hint of ritualization. On the other hand, the suggestions of the dominatrix sex mask keep it all on the level of uninhibited pleasure.
FC SOFIA, 2009,Technoplasm, painted vintage military helmet and toys in glass and painted steel case, 52 3/4 x 22 5/6 x 47 2/3 inches; Courtesy of the artists and DE BUCK GALLERY.
On an adjacent wall is the silhouette of a life-sized, painted aluminum nurse in spike heels and micro mini skirt. Standing one arm akimbo and the other arm with hand holding a syringe, you begin to see that pain and mystery will often accompany pleasure. By the time FC SOFIA is finished with their current path to glory they will more than likely leave no sexual fantasy or taboo unturned.
My favorite piece, Technoplasm (2009), is comprised of a metallic painted vintage war helmet that holds strands of colorful plastic toys and charms that cascade down from its darkened underside. The references to a stinging jellyfish, war, spewing brains and collateral damage all come to mind here. But it’s that supreme militaristic symbol, the helmet, inside a pristine steel and glass case that, with all the accoutrements that fall from its core, really hits the mark. Unfortunately, war is the ultimate expression of domination and we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable future.
FC SOFIA, 2007, Empty Memory, paint and collage on resin, 7 5/6 x 11 4/5 x 6 inches; Courtesy of the artists and DE BUCK GALLERY.
I also find Empty Memory (2007), a painted white and collaged resin sculpture in the shape of a woman’s panties to be quite powerful. Again, it’s about mixing metaphors that somehow come back together to form a commentary on lost innocence and ignited sexuality. With this piece, and much of what FC SOFIA creates shows an undeniable reference to Asian Pop culture. If you look at the sexual excitement that older Japanese business men have for cute, school-aged, uniform wearing young girl’s white panties, FC SOFIA’s heavy use of adorable little mutated or minimalized monster figures as toys or stickers and the colorful and slick flat surfaces they desire and you get the feeling that there has been more than one exposure to Tokyo’s oft times anime and manga inspired contemporary art.
If you don’t get the point by now, you only need look at Prolovyx (2010), a large painted resin pill in the shape of a heart, which also bears an easy split v-shaped score through its center. Yes, the formidable counterpart for the little blue pill.
FC SOFIA/Parade, a great date exhibition, ends December 15th.
—D. Dominick Lombardi
(Image on top: FC SOFIA, Prolovyx , 2010 , painted resin, 75 x 86 x 25 cm; Courtesy of the artists and DE BUCK GALLERY)