Words by Liam Bosecke
Emmaline Zanelli invites us to connect with her intimate relationships in her debut show titled RIFE MACHINE at ACE ACROSS. Much like a Rife Machine itself, that idea of connection is purely imaginary, since her work was made not to be fully understood; the symbolism is purely personal. Even though we aren’t meant to fully understand these works, we certainly can get an instinctive sense of the relationships that are contained within her personal milieu. Zanelli explores her subjects (Brother, ex-boyfriend etc) and toys with the idea of ambiguity and power through dynamic photography, composition, uneasiness and spatial awareness.
I went to visit the exhibition a second time before writing this, and was quite intrigued to find that the installation titled 'PUPPY (2017)', which is a room layered with 3,606 6X4 photographs of the inside of a dogs mouth with red flood lights, was slowly falling apart. Photos and tape were drooping and pealing off of the roof and walls, which I felt gave it much more of a claustrophobic feeling then my first impression, which was one of solidarity in her own creativity. This may not have been the original intent, but that's the beauty of Zanelli's work, you can hear your own answers to these imaginary questions directed at you.
It's futile to go looking for a definitive answer within the work; Zanelli shows us exactly what she wants to show, whilst at the same time leaving it open to every plausible interpretation, hiding her truths in plain sight for everyone to see.
RIFE MACHINE extends beyond the idea of a metaphorical healing apparatus; indeed, we can interpret it as being about understanding herself as a human being, her own relationships and making sense of her reality(s). In the same way that; ‘when we speak, we tell more then we say’, Zanelli’s work doesn’t just explore the relationship between herself and the subject, but also explores the emotional movements and history with the subjects and herself as an artist. To break down this idea, we can see that the work deconstructs her subjects and metamorphizes them into an embodiment of their intertwined past relationships and interactions, each with their own distinguishable form of camouflage or shape. I feel that this follows the idea that there isn’t just one reality, but that we become a part of the millions of individual realities we live out every day, between the people we laugh and cry with, and those that are with us on our life’s journey. Much like the Rife Machine itself, it takes a certain level of belief in yourself and your consciousness to be a part of certain realities, and this is no different with the private realities created in Zanelli’s work.
Like with all art, we must take into consideration the process with which it was made. The process is a strong aspect to the imagery itself, so much more so than we may anticipate as an audience. The processes involved with RIFE MACHINE are intricately planned and ritualized personal experiences with each sitter, transcending the usually mundane experiences into something much more meaningful to both sitter and artist.
We are then left to question our own ideas and interpretations of what we see and feel. Through intimate and penetrating imagery, RIFE MACHINE compels us to connect with Zanelli's personalized universes. They may even manifest themselves into your own realities, if you believe they can.
Go see RIFE MACHINE before it ends on June 17th.
ACE Open, Lion Arts Centre, North Terrace (West End)
Kaurna Yarta, Adelaide, South Australia 5000
Gallery Opening Hours: