Eddie Saint-Jean works in photography and film. Linking Freudian theories of the Uncanny to the visual arts, he seeks out the unfamiliar in the familiar, unhomely in the homely, and eerie elements in everyday objects and experiences. A strong focus on how eco-art (more readily associated with rural environments) now features in the urban uncanny.
The artist was intrigued with the way nature had taken over urban areas during the pandemic so went to London nature spots already well known for the way nature had intruded over manmade constructs. First to St Dunstan’s-in-the-East, an abandoned gothic church near Tower Bridge and then Hampstead Pergola, a building which is similarly over run with free-growing plants which have found beauty in urban abandon.
The model wears a mask as a false public face and also as a reference to the coronavirus mask. The confused plastic smile represents our concealed emotions during a period of unprecedented panic and uncertainty over health, livelihoods and the wider economy. Psychologist Sigmund Freud used masks in his work to highlight the ‘doppelgänger’ nature in the human psyche that represents that part of ourselves we feel uncomfortable with. Ultimately, my work makes the viewer confront truths that they would prefer to keep hidden. The term ‘keep a brave face on it’ was never more apt than during this pandemic. In my photo the brave face is hidden in case it gives away feelings of anxiety and pain during this period of upheaval and uncertainty.
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