Photography The mass and the individual in the works of Sean Mundy
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The mass and the individual in the works of Sean Mundy

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Giorgia Massari
Sean Mundy | Collater.al

From an Instagram reel of Canadian photographer Sean Mundy, one can sense the complexity of his photographic works. His are not just shots but rather it can be said that his works are the result of great imagination conveyed by photography, technical skills of digital post production, and detailed scenic construction. Indeed, in the reel, the photographer shows the process of making the work Summoning, which depicts a series of bodies plummeting from an opening in the ceiling. The Magritte-esque “flying” characters are actually the same person: the photographer takes multiple self-shots as he throws himself onto a mattress, simulating the fall, and then digitally processes them to create the composition. The result is a striking, conceptual work in which visual harmony accentuates and conveys social messages, with a particular focus on the dynamics of collective behavior.

Sean Mundy | Collater.al

Recurring in Sean Mundy’s works is the figure of a hooded man whose face is not visible. The total black clothing he wears makes him a mysterious, eerie, and shadowy figure, as if he were a soulless shadow. Very often the figure in black appears repeatedly in the same work, creating a united group resembling a cult, intent on actions that are at times macabre. In some works the group is set in opposition to an individual, as in the 2014 work Elude, in which figures in black chase a fleeing man, who differs in his clothing as an ordinary man in jeans and a t-shirt. In other works, however, ritual behaviors are performed, an example being the work Idolatry, which shows the group kneeling in front of a huge black cube suspended in the air. This series of works is a clear reference to social behaviors in which the individual does not possess his or her own personal identity but rather a collective identity emerges that pushes the individual to conform to the mass, both ideologically and aesthetically.
In other series the protagonist, alone or in a group, is placed in relation to elements that dominate the composition such as fire in the Barriers series, destroyed cityscapes in RUIN, and red tarps in Tethered, Sean Mundy’s most recent series. The intent always remains to communicate current issues, especially related to externally induced human psychological mechanisms but with obvious intimate repercussions.

Sean Mundy | Collater.al
Sean Mundy | Collater.al
Courtesy by Sean Mundy
Photographyartphotography
Written by Giorgia Massari
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