The avatar could represent anyone, a housewife, a gay person, a camp lower-middle-class child, or the artist himself. Lipchik is not concerned with resemblance, not even with human likeness. The motifs of reflection as the projection of a fixed, hardened identity and of water as the expression of a permanently flowing identity that is always constructing and constituting itself anew permeate his entire work. Connected to this is the fact that Lipchik applies the concept of “fluid,” flowing identity not only to the sexes, but also to human and non-human life, or to humans and objects. Over and over again, the avatar with the hose appears, watering itself autoerotically, as it were, like a plant, gardener, and garden at once. Lipchik also translated the motif into a 3D sculpture, with body parts, hose, and fences protruding from the wall, as if from a vertical water surface. Of course, the avatars reflecting and photographing each other bring to mind the Greek myth of Narcissus, and the new series of works can be viewed as an ironic commentary on a narcissistic society that is only reflected in its representation in social media, for whom nothing is real unless it has been photographed, filmed, and posted, But that would be too shortsighted. Lipchik’s new images are more mythological than Freudian, perhaps closer to Ovid’s Metamorphoses and the whimsical gods of antiquity than one might think.
It is these dissolving transitions between civilization and nature, reality and virtuality, the material and immaterial, that Lipchik addresses in Above the Surface. His avatars resemble non-binary figures of thought. While Vision of Song told of the destruction of the earth and the dissolution of democracy, Above the Surface conjures up a kind of post-human twilight of the gods. As in the TV series American Gods, gods have returned to earth, in this case to deserted white lower-middle-class suburbs. While in the series the “old” gods of indigenous peoples, of former slaves and immigrants, compete against the “new” globalized techno gods, Lipchik simply morphs them together. They are not really gods, but goddess-nymph memes, avatar containers filled with new speculative narratives. This is emphasized by Lipchik’s kaleidoscopic visual language, in which myth, technology, and magic intersect.
For Lipchik, who grew up in the conservative working-class town of Erie, Pennsylvania, his latest series is a return home. Under cosmic starry skies, in sparkling pools, a speculative story unfolds about class, sexuality, identity, and ecology. Above the Surface returns to the moment when one recognizes oneself in the water, in the mirror, in the avatar of a game, and senses its future manifestations, in Audre Lordes’ words, “nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt.”
For more information, please contact the gallery: email@example.com