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Jonathan Grassi
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Brooklyn Heights

Media:Photography;


ARTIST STATEMENT: I am interested capturing subjects in moments when they confront their own vulnerability and documenting their instinctual reactions. I have created controlled situations based on the notion of children at play, where the subjects are unable to maintain their composure. I observe their natural reactions as the roll down a hill, are startled in a haunted house, or are compressed in a dog pile. Presently, I am working on a series titled "Don't", where I have my subjects tickled and document their spasms and fits of laughter. The tickler is rarely shown, but his or her presence is implied in the body language of the subject. What's beautiful to me is the complex range of emotions people display when captured this way. Are they in ecstasy? Terror? Hysteria? Rage? The body appears to become its own enemy, contradicting itself, sending out graphically mixed messages, Yes! No! More! Stop! inside and out. It's universal. The body can't help itself. In most portraiture the subject is able to pose and modify the transaction, but no one can control how they look in the throes of "gargalesthesia" -- the scientific term for the automatic response produced by heavy tickling. It is by definition a state that lies out of our knowledge and control.
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