RAW

                                              Paris 2007

 

Impassive, beautiful, and damaged, Andre Niemeyer’s
mug shot type paintings of young men situates
a province of ambiguity in his subjects. The rendering
of the masculine icon as both androgynous
and vulnerable engages a politics of sexuality, that
betrays the trap of persona construction. The expressionless
subject evokes a multivalent condition
that manifests as a mixture of celebration and
critique - Niemeyer uses desire to beguile judgement
and in so doing leaves us with questions. Are
they victims of abuse or victims of their own narcissistic
invincibility?
Heroic yet delicate, the duality reveals the ineluctable
vulnerability of youth and the fragility of romanticized
masculinity. The homoerotic element
in the presentation of boys as innocence lost is inextricably
linked to the problem of identity. Showing
the boys as a dissimilar yet homogenous group
Niemeyer uses the idea of the collective identity
as a vehicle to transmit the dilemma of the individual,
caught inside and outside of society. The
almost arrogant passport-photo pathos in each of
the faces deliberately conceals an individual story
and belies the fact that each is alone.

                                                                                       Michael Elion