August 06, 2012 Author: Antoine D’Agata
Methamphetamine hydrochloride is a white to light brown crystalline powder, or clear chunky crystals resembling ice.
Magnum photographer Antoine D’Agata loses himself among sensory demons in his new book Ice, covering a body of work from 2005-2011. In a collection of blurred motion colour photography and email correspondence, a haunting story of drug-fueled, sex-driven depravity unfolds. D’Agata’s known style of gritty photography is on display in full-force, unforgiving and unrelenting.
A woman lays on a bed, ejaculate dripping away from her eyes like tears. Bodies collapse into curled-up feral beasts. Faces contort in pain or ecstasy in ways that leave the two sensations indistinguishable, undetachable. Shapes of naked human form wrap around each other in twos and threes, boundaries between them blurring into unison. There is no romance to be found in these physical journeys, there is no transcendence of body – this is corporeal to the extreme, with blood and scars, burnt out colours, sensations overworked to the point of being fried.
Ice is visceral, carnal, disgusting, disturbing, and fundamentally beautiful. While the overlap between sex and destruction is a fairly common theme, particularly among photographers looking to shock and titillate, D’Agata again establishes himself as a master through this work. The genuine nature of his destruction speaks more loudly than any attempt at impressing those around him. He doesn’t photograph his demons for the sake of creating beautiful art – he’s living his demons and, through his art, exposing his vulnerability.
The release of Ice accompanies an exhibition of D’Agata’s work at Fotomuseum Den Haag, on display until September 2, 2012.
Ice is available for sale from the publisher, Images En Manœuvres Éditions.
Reviewed by Katherine Oktober Matthews.