We have come across many a story of fashion models turning towards other occupations, but that of 21-year-old photographer Evelyn Bencicova must be one of the most interesting (and successful at that). Born in Bratislava, Slovakia, the Berlin-based photographer decided to pursue her interest in fashion- and art-photography a couple of years ago, following her urge to create images and stories of her own. Back in her childhood, Bencicova wanted to be, amongst other things, a philosopher and a politician, aspirations which seem to have reemerged into her more recent creative work – since behind her impressively coherent and visually stunning work lies a healthy dose of thought and research, as well as the ambition to tackle some serious philosophical questions about human existence and, as she says, ''the true nature of things.''
For Evelyn Bencicova, the content of the picture is not just the person or the object that it depicts, but rather the thoughts or concepts the image evokes. Her images go beyond the apparent, without however being symbolic or representational: for her, a photograph is just a moment in a longer and multilayered creative process, since she sees herself more of a creator of scenes or sculptural compositions than ‘just’ a photographer, admitting that she is not really interested in the technical aspects of what she does. Through her treatment of the body as more of a sculptural or choreographic device (paired with the extensive use of props and materials such as melted wax, extravagant costumes, or even dead fish), Bencicova creates poignant visual gestures which do not ‘stand for’ something, but rather bring actual relationships into existence – relationships between the individuals who pose for her, the body and its environment, the viewer and Bencicova herself.
In one of her more recent projects, which has received widespread attention from publications and other media around the world, Bencicova draws from the long tradition of the Ecce Homo theme in Western art. The theme itself comes from the Christian tradition and the representations of particular scenes from the Passion of Christ and has been revisited by contemporary artists as a way to approach human suffering and mortality in general. For Bencicova, this translates into a comment upon the behaviour of a person in society, as well as the way society in turn stands in the world at large. For this reason, she guided her models into group compositions, presenting the body as objectified and anonymous: stacked, piled, laid around or woven together in unsettling tableaux vivants, the bodies in the Ecce Homo series are treated as abstract forms, with their heads uncomfortably bent so that they are not visible, thus adding tension to the already dark and dehumanising imagery. To further enhance the atmosphere that she depicts, Evelyn Bencicova has carefully chosen locations, most of which are to be found in her home country, that are austere, cold and clinical in their appearance; places where, as she says, ''something happened, but nobody knows what exactly.''
With such a captivating aesthetic and deep conceptual background, Evelyn Bencicova is certainly a young artist to keep an eye on in the coming years. While she was unable to provide details regarding her (certainly exciting!) upcoming projects, you can stay informed about future exhibitions and new projects by liking her Facebook page.