Exhibition: Since Forever is Gone
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For his first solo show at the Soho Grand Hotel, Ruvan Wijesooriya shows a departure from his vivid explorations of subculture and enters a more demure, melancholic landscape. The images featured in the show address lost ideals, beauty and disappointment whilst maintaining the humor, curiosity and quirkiness that his book, All Night New York, is known for. In this book, James Murphy of lcd Soundsystem writes of Ruvan’s work:

“All of Ruvan’s pictures remind me of that feeling: That your life could be
saved if you could get there right then. That you’re geographically fucked,
and it’s all happening right now, somewhere else, without you. There is an
enormous amount of intimacy in them, and promise, and intrusion…”

Ruvan Wijesooriya is known for exhibitions where his audience takes home the works. As inhibitions are dropped, image by image is peeled down from the exhibition walls until nothing remains. With this gesture Ruvan suggests that an image is never for him to keep, his subjects caught in some transitional moment that he claims no ownership over. This twist also points to the artists relationship to the image making process, featuring effervescent characters fluctuating in and out of the image surface. Ruvan’s images relate to the contemporary practice of a more hard-edged documentary look to fashion image-making that includes biographical elements. His close relationship to many of his subjects have resulted in intimate portraits wedged in-between the commercial and the arts, the autobiographical and the editorial. However, unlike many of his contemporaries he does not rely on the personal drama of his subjects. Ruvan assumes the role of a mediator that allows for a subtle narrative to unfold within this series of images. He is generous and visible in his images, his curiosity leering at us.

Roland Barthes wrote in his book, The Fashion System: “Fashion is both too serious and too frivolous at the same time”. Jean Baudrillard later suggests fashion is elemental of the dream world, constituting in part, “a dimension of reality constructed from images”. With Since forever is gone , Ruvan manifests these suggestions. Find a girl screaming out the window. Her breakdown seems perfectly illustrated by the erratic Dries van Noten-fabric featured in the next photo. A romantic sky reflects in the faux rebellion of tie-dyed, crushed velvet on a girl in a bath-tub. 1968 is over, baby. There is desperation in a space where hope, dreams and sentimentality recycles in a sheet of hot fuchsia fabric. In-between the pavement and the beautiful dress, human experience resides. For Ruvan, the pose is over. But he never fails to interpret the powerful metaphor of fashion.

Marthe Ramm Fortun
Artist, Curator
New York City 2009