The Pursuit of Hapenis

Franz Szony has the kinds of dreams usually seen only on screen — in Hitchcock’s Spellbound perhaps, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer — with bleeding, anthropomorphic objects and monkeys in tasseled hats. Combined with a background in fashion illustration, his photos neatly pack sex, death, decay, and rebirth together in the portmanteau Hapenis. Szony sews costumes from scratch, and designs elaborate sets reminiscent of a Baroque opera in which the wires and cables are visible without dispelling the magic. For the titular Hapenis piece, (try to say that without giggling) he places a model wearing a dress painstakingly adorned with thousands of Swarovski rhinestones on a 17th-century throne in the center of a set strewn with dismembered and distressed pianos. And there’s a monkey. With that much preparation, he prefers the terms “photographic painter” or “character portraitist” to “photographer.” In a documentary about the making of Hapenis, Szony said, “The goal for this photo, really along with the goal for all of my photographs, is to seduce the viewer with something beautiful. But because my images are always twisted in some aspect, I hope it leaves the viewer questioning.” The results are beyond our wildest dreams.
Wed., July 11, 7 p.m.; Mondays-Fridays. Starts: July 11. Continues through Aug. 4, 2012

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