My first camera was a Polaroid. I can clearly remember the excitement while waiting for the photo to process, the unique look that you can only get from such a camera and even the smell of a fresh print! I doubt that Dash Snow remembered many of these aspects about the Polaroid which he used to document his life. In most of the photos he appears to be off his face! Apparently Dash used the camera so that he could remember what had happened once he sobered up! The result: a mix of drugs, alcohol, vomit and banter! Lots of the photos reminded me of those that go up on facebook after that tragic night out that you don’t quite remember but kind of regret! But Snow takes it to another level. He doesn’t just document drunken nights out like many facebookers, but also much more personal moments.
The naked truth
Some of the images were very surprising; I couldn’t quite believe that I was looking at Dash ejaculating on his girlfriend…literally! These made up just a few of the countless photos of intimate sexual moments they shared together which made me feel like a bit of a voyeur. I liked this brutal honesty of his photographs. Snow doesn’t hide anything from the viewer; he lets us in to every aspect of his life. As well as his hedonistic, sexual and experimental sides, Snow’s unconventional family portrait demonstrates a more tender side. I was touched by the beautiful Polaroids of his pregnant girlfriend sleeping and Dash himself asleep with his newborn baby.
Dash Snow “Untitled 2001-2009″. Photo: Jochen Littkemann, Courtesy of Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin
Welcome to the dark side
The darker side of Snow is reflected in a very graphic and slightly disturbing video. Be warned: there will be blood! I wished someone had warned me that the video was going to contain huge, close up images of injections. The flashes of pornographic images and drug preparation were very welcome break from watching Dash inject himself or take his own blood into a syringe and then spray it on various photos of different children! The images of children appearing next to those of blood spattered skulls and genitals hint at a loss of innocence whilst Snow’s tendency to cover everything in glitter seems to comment on our tendency to “decorate” the truth and make it and our memories prettier and sparkly!
From Dash Snow to cold snow!
Throughout the exhibition showing free-spirited, excessive and experimental fun, there is a darkness lingering in the background which became quite intense. I became absorbed in the world of Snow and when I left the warmth of the gallery on this snowy Saturday I decided I needed something to pick me up again. Thankfully it was Saturday so the Art Market was on and it just so happens to be right next to the CFA…perfect!
- Contemporary Fine Arts – Dash Snow, February 11th – March 24th 2012, Tue-Fr: 11am-6pm, Sat: 11am-4pm