Moby – Innocents
”Masks are scary for a lot of people, but they are inherently neutral. It’s just a molded piece of plastic. I want someone to look at it and have a conditioned reaction, and if possible even question where that reaction is coming from.”
“Innocents” series is based on Moby’s own theory that the Apocalypse has already happened. Tragic events influenced him. After September 11 – which coincidentally is also Moby’s birthday -, it was a global belief that “nothing will ever be the same again”, even if apparently most people’s lives didn’t radically change. Moby is interested in the potential shift in human perception. He considers that a post-apocalyptic consciousness makes people to add a new meaning to common surrounding world: “Like a picture of a supermarket pre-apocalypse would somehow have different significance post-apocalypse. Even though the supermarket itself would be the exact same thing.”
Starting from these premises, the artist imagined the “Cult of Innocents” as the world’s first post-apocalyptic cult. Unlike many historically recorded (pre-apocalyptic) cults, whose members prepared for the (upcoming) end of the world, trying to find a secret formula to protect themselves against it, Moby’s fictitious “Innocents” perform on a post-apocalyptic stage or even during the Apocalypse. As the artist confessed in an interview, in the creation of his characters he drew inspiration from The Source Family – the legendary and “benign” cult that was active in L.A. in the 1970’s. In his photographs, hybrid human-animal characters, with living human bodies, draped in white fabrics such as antique statues, and with skulls or animal masks instead of heads, populate a natural or artificial environment. They are reminiscent of both the magical atmosphere in “Alice in Wonderland” and the black humor scenes in “Tales from the Crypt”.
Moby’s photographs are multi-layered. By using strange juxtapositions and decontextualized elements, the artist plays with the semiotic relationship signifier-signified in order to create works open to different interpretations. He only suggests a framework for each of his photographs and for the fictional narrative that connects them, but the conclusion – if there is one – belongs to the viewer. From his mind-blowing music to his photographs related to his own directed videos, in terms of visual motifs, composition, and psychedelic colors, Moby defines himself as a multi-faceted artist, extremely emotional and rational at the same time.
Richard Melville Hall (b. 1965) known by his stage name Moby, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, DJ and photographer. He was exposed to art since his childhood, being raised in a family of artists: his mother was a painter, an uncle of him was a sculptor. Another uncle, Joseph Kugielsky, who was a photographer at the New York Times, gave him his used photo equipment, so that Moby started taking pictures at the age of 10 with his first camera – an old Nikon F that had been in Vietnam. At university Moby had a double major, in philosophy and photography. He spent years and years in the SUNY Purchase College’s darkroom developing and printing for himself and for others. Although his passion for photography emerged early on, Moby’s first official shows happened only in 2010. A few others followed them, both in New York and L.A.
Moby is represented by Emmanuel Fremin Gallery from New York. The gallery was founded in 2007 and focuses in discovering and representing emerging artists who produce works through the varied media of photography, sculpture,video, and installation. It represents artists whose progressive and unique outlook illustrates the fusion of contemporary life and personal experience. The non conformism of the gallery embraces the progressive conceptualization of the artists through serene, spiritual or provocative pieces; its role is to be the catalyst for them to develop their freedom of expression in a setting that is conducive for both the artist and the collector alike.