Nicolas Ruston’s latest art installation titled Euphoria, which was inspired by Austrian Josef Fritzl, has without doubt an essence of shock and awe about it. But as the artist points out it’s not about the shock and more about why we see it as shocking.
Euphoria is a combination of a surreal, vacant pornography film-set and the basement where Fritzl imprisoned his daughter for 24 years. The controversial installation, which has had its own dose of press, formed part of Nicolas Ruston’s recent De$ire exhibition at a West London gallery.
Ruston has said he used Fritzl as a case study and he that he wasn't doing it for the shock value. The exhibition was based upon exploring sexual ideologies and in his case, like with much of his art, is viewed through the perspective of the mass media.
In March Fritzl was found guilty of all charges against him, including rape, incest, enslavement and murder, and was sentenced to life in prison. "The sexual part of the Josef Fritzl story was sold as a commodity, which is very much the way the commercial world works," Ruston said. "But the thing I was really engaged by was the fact that the children of Elisabeth had been born into an environment where their only window to the world was through the TV, through the mass media."
Ruston said he wanted to "try and imagine what it was like to be in that environment if your only interpretation of the outside world was through the TV" adding "I was trying to create a fantasy world in this very claustrophobic place. The lighting is a baby pink, quite cold. I wanted it to be a bit cold and confusing. I wanted to illustrate the difference between making love and pornography. I think that is a metaphor for the way people relate to the mass media.”
Nic continues upon his successful exhibition with a feature on his art direction project in conjunction with photographer Adrian Burke in the latest Creative Review Photography Annual., October 2009. The chosen images were judged and selected by Mark Elwood (Fallon), Meirion Pritchard (Wallpaper*) and Richard Turley (The Guardian’s G2).