Under The Influence explores the blurring of boundaries between fact and fiction, the real and the fake, transforming or subverting what we understand through images and iconography, questioning what we see at face value. In recent years Hawgood has used the religious ritual as a starting point for his explorations, and this series encapsulates in particular performative gestures and objects relating to exorcism ceremonies, held in predominantly African communities in London's evangelical churches.
At first glance his images are hyper-stylised still life, almost sterile in their depiction of these objects and actions and the peculiar use of advertising in one specific church. Anointing water in a spray bottle, a microphone held by a preacher, ice cubes and a wrist support, are set against backdrops of saccharine colours of the ad-man's world of consumer culture, designed to lure us in on the sell. But what are we being sold? Advertising sells us the dream and lies to us through a simulated reality, is it at all disturbing or surprising that religion should harness these tactics too?
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TJ Boulting Gallery, Marylebone
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