Stripped | Fragile Armor

Stripped | Fragile Armor is a series of photographs representing a personal journey of a life filled with so much promise and in the end destroyed by greed and desire leaving nothing but loss, need, grief and memory. Through complicated relationships and collaborations within the interior landscapes of million dollar homes and the exterior brilliance of the Florida landscape a narrative is formed.

In my investigation of what is left behind and gathered as evidence to this life is a collection of very expensive neckties. His neckties are deconstructed and re-appropriated into a garment used to represent power. Neckties have been used throughout history as an apparatus of armor in the decorating of battle suits as early as the year 221BC in China. Shih Huang Ti, the first emperor of china, when unearth from an underground tomb in Xi’an, his life-size “Terracotta Army” militia members each wore a necktie. Given the elegant nature of the silk and the elegant construction of the gown along with the interesting textures and patterns of the ties themselves wrapped tightly around my figure creates a vestige of protection, a sort of camouflage.

In the unfolding of this investigation the interior facing of the ties are revealed. This material used to give the ties their rigid shape or the interior armor inspires a sister garment, in contrast to the first. This garments construction is rigid but fragile and with every twist or turn of my body the fabric starts to unravel. In the reparation of the sister gown I am reminded of the grace one needs to apply to ones life in order to establish forgiveness for self, most of all, and everyone else also. A constant vigil of courage, strength and vulnerability is required in the letting go of this past. The cake is an offering to this birth of a new life, a rebuilding of something rare and stronger than before. A new life measured with restraint and boundaries, a life with a different kind of coupling where the freedom to pursue ideas becomes the highest ideal. This storm survived polishes ones character and leaves bare sensitivity and knowledge of the human condition, a force of growth where wisdom, grace and love are hard won on this battlefield called life.

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©Maria Bevilacqua 2016